Skip to main content

Full text of "Jamestown, Virginia: The Townsite and Its Story"

See other formats


Clemson Universit 



Fred A. Seaton, Secretary 

Conrad L. Wirth, Director 


This publication is one of a series of handbooks describing the 
historical and archeological areas in the National Park System 
administered by the National Park Service of the United States 
Department of the Interior. It is printed by the Government 
Printing Office and may be purchased from the Superintendent of 
Documents, Washington 25, D. C. Price 25 cents. 

Jamestown, Virginia 


By Charles E. Hatch, Jr. 

The Seal of 
His Majesties Council of Virginia" 

The National Park Service 

cooperating with 

The Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities 

Washington, D. C, 1949 (Revised 1957) 

This publication relates to Jamestown 
Island, Va. A portion of Jamestown 
Island is included in Colonial National 
Historical Park and is administered by the 
National Park Service of the United States 
Department of the Interior. Jamestown 
National Historic Site, the other portion 
of the island, is administered by the Asso- 
ciation for the Preservation of Virginia 
Antiquities. A cooperative agreement be- 
tween the Association and the Depart- 
ment of the Interior has been in effect since 
1940 providing for a unified program of 
development for the whole Jamestown 
Island area. 













The Memorial Cross at Cape Henry which marks the approximate site 
of the first landing of the Jamestown colonists on American soil, April 
26, 1607. 

Jamestown is the site of the first permanent English settlement in America 
(1607 }, the point at which the first representative legislative assembly 
convened (16 19) to set a pattern for self-government in America, the locale of 
stirring events in Bacon's Rebellion (1676-77), and the capital of the Colony of 
Virginia for 92 years (1607-99). 

The first permanent settlement in America by the English at James- 
town was a visible manifestation of the determination of that nation to 
establish itself in the New World. The overthrow of Spanish seapower 
during the reign of Queen Elizabeth paved the way for English coloniza- 
tion ventures. Enterprising Britons had already established their influence 
in India, the Near East, and Russia. Sir Walter Raleigh had made several 
unsuccessful attempts to establish an enduring settlement along the 
Carolina coast at Roanoke Island, events now commemorated by Fort 
Raleigh National Historic Site, and Sir Humphrey Gilbert had tried, to 
no avail, to make a settlement in Newfoundland. 

It remained for the Virginia Company of London, under its charter of 
April 10, 1606, to found the first permanent English settlement in 
America. This joint stock company, a commercial organization, from 
its inception assumed a national character. It was instrumental, under 
its charter provisions, in guaranteeing to the settlers in the New World 
the rights, freedoms, and privileges enjoyed by Englishmen at home and 
the enjoyment of their customary manner of living which they adapted 
to their new environment with the passage of years. 

Jamestown was the site of the first settlement that grew into the 
Colony of Virginia and gave heart to those men who settled the colonies 
that came later. The first Virginians landed in May 1607, built houses 
and a fort, planted crops, and began the struggle for the conquest of a 
vast primitive land. They brought with them their church and respect 
for God, maintained trial by jury and their rights as freemen, and soon 
were developing representative government. All of these things are a 
part of the story of Jamestown. 

In the words of James Bryce, British Ambassador to the United States 
at the time of the Jamestown Tercentenary, the settlement of 'James- 
town was one of the great events in the history of the world— an event 

to be compared for its momentous consequences with the overthrow of 
the Persian Empire by Alexander; with the destruction of Carthage by 
Rome; with the conquest of Gaul by Clovis; with the taking of Con- 
stantinople by the Turks— one might almost say with the discovery of 
America by Columbus." Here was born the great English-speaking 
nation beyond the seas, of which Gilbert and Raleigh had dreamed; and 
here was the cradle of our Republican institutions and liberties. 

The Story of Jamestown 

On May 13, 1607, three small English ships approached Jamestown 
Island in Virginia— the Susan Constant of 100 tons commanded by Capt. 
Christopher Newport and carrying 71 persons; the Godspeed ot 40 tons 
commanded by Capt. Bartholomew Gosnold and carrying 52 persons; 
and the Discovery, a pinnace, of 20 tons under Capt. John RatclifTe, carry- 
ing 21 persons. During the day (as George Percy, one of the party on 
board, relates) they maneuvered the ships so close to the shore that they 
were "moored to the Trees in six fathom [of] water." The next day, May 
14, he continues, "we landed all our men, which were set to worke about 
the fortification, others some to watch and ward as it was convenient." 
Thus, the first permanent English settlement in America was begun on 
the shores of the James River, in Virginia, about 20 years after the ill- 
fated attempts to establish a colony on Roanoke Island and 13 years 
before the Pilgrims made their historic landing at Plymouth, in New 

the English background. The settlement at Jamestown, in 1607, was 
another step, albeit a most significant step, in England's quest for a place 
in the vast New World first indicated by Columbus in his discovery of 
1492 and made known to Europe through his and other expeditions. 
King Henry VII of England early sought to establish a claim in North 
America and sponsored the now famous voyage of John and Sebastian 
Cabot in 1497- The Cabots touched points along the Atlantic coast, and 
their discoveries were ever afterward pointed to with pride by English- 
men discussing their rights in the New World. As William Strachey 
wrote, in 1612, "... our voyages hither for a while might seeme to lye 
slumbering, yet our tytle could not thereby out sleepe ytself . . .". 
Despite this, England was occupied at home and in Europe and did not 
press this advantage. Spain took the lead in colonial settlement and held 
it for decades. How many Englishmen set foot on the North American 
continent in the first three-quarters of the 16th century may never be 
known. They were no strangers in the fishing waters off Newfoundland, 
and in this region there appear to have been landings and temporary 
settlements. Even so, serious attempts at colonization did not begin until 
the reign of Queen Elizabeth, and then it was pushed vigorously by men 

of the mark of Sir Humphrey Gilbert, Sir Walter Raleigh, and their 

Sir Humphrey lost his life in 1583 when returning from his attempted 
settlement of St. John's Port, Newfoundland. Sir Walter Raleigh dili- 
gently sought to establish the English flag to the south. He sent out two 
colonial expeditions to found a settlement on Roanoke Island in present 
eastern North Carolina. Both failed in their over-all purpose. It was the 
expedition of 1587 (the last) which set sail for the Chesapeake Bay 
country and landed on Roanoke Island that has come down to us as the 
"Lost Colony"— the settlement that saw the birth of Virginia Dare and 
that left the baffling inscription suggesting that the members of the 
colony moved, willingly or unwillingly, to be with the Croatan Indians 
who lived not far from Roanoke. The early men at Jamestown knew of 
their countrymen who were lost in America and were under orders to 
seek them. This they did, but their search went unrewarded. 

By 1600, England was readying herself for a concerted drive to estab- 
lish colonies in the New World. The way had been prepared by the far- 
sighted Queen Elizabeth and her supporters. Within England there had 
been growth; capital had accumulated; industry was taking root; com- 
mercial organization was beginning; and Englishmen were ready for new 
adventures. Outwardly, England had grown through its naval successes 
and had developed a keen hostility to Spain. Individual Englishmen, 
each depending on his own circumstances, were seeking more profitable 
employment, personal freedom (particularly religious liberty), land 
ownership, personal advancement, adventure, and just plain change. A 
new England was in the making and the British Empire was about to 
rise in the West and in the Orient as well. With the accession of James I 
to the English throne, peace was made with Spain, a peace that was 
maintained although it was an uneasy one— from time to time little 
more than an armed truce. Yet, because of it, English capital came out 
of hiding and sought profitable investment. Business development 
increased and joint stock companies began to organize for overseas 

Colonization was expensive, however, and required the pooled 
resources of many men. Advertising, which reached a peak early in 
the 17th century, was put to work in a manner that would do credit 
to the present day. Its use in commerce and government is by no means 
of recent date. Spokesmen— speakers, writers, poets, pamphleteers, play- 
wrights, and preachers— solicited all England to take part in these new 
endeavors which, in their words, gave every assurance of profitable return. 

The exploits of men such as Raleigh and Gilbert, Martin Frobisher, 
Michael Lok, John Davis, Thomas Cavendish, Sir Francis Drake, and Sir 
John Hawkins had already made England conscious of the potentialities 
of the New World and of the need to seek a part of it. Others followed 
these earlier leaders. In 1602 Raleigh sent yet another ship under Samuel 
Mace to seek the lost settlers of Roanoke, and in the same year a vessel 

went out under Bartholomew Gosnold who attempted a settlement on 
Elizabeth's Island in present Massachusetts. Gosnold and another in 
this party, Gabriel Archer, were to become prominent later in the 
Jamestown settlement. In 1603, Martin Pring made a voyage along the 
northern part of Virginia. In 1605, came the expedition under George 
Weymouth to the Kennebec River on the New England coast. He spent 
some weeks here and returned to England carrying with him several 
Indian natives from that region. 

On April 10, 1606, the first Virginia charter received the great seal 
of England. This document recognized two groups and two spheres 
of influence that would fall between the thirty-fourth and forty- fifth 
parallels of north latitude along the American coast. One was interested 
in North Virginia and was granted to Thomas Hanham, Raleigh Gilbert, 
William Parker, George Popham, and others of and for Plymouth and 
other English places. This group was first in the field with exploration, 
dispatching a ship in August 1606 under Henry Challons. In May 1607, 
they sent a colony to the mouth of the Kennebec in Maine, but, in the 
spring of 1608, after a severe winter, the settlement was given up. 

The second group, organized under the charter of 1606, was that 
interested in south Virginia. This patent went to Sir Thomas Gates, Sir 
George Somers, Richard Hakluyt, Edward Maria Wingfield, and others 
of and for the city of London. The treasurer of the group was Sir Thomas 
Smith, one of the most capable businessmen of the day. Richard 
Hakluyt, the foremost authority on travel, foreign regions, and coloniza- 
tion in general, assembled helpful data and had a large part in the prep- 
aration of instructions and orders for those to be sent out as colonists. 
It was this group and their associates that organized, financed, and di- 
rected the expedition that reached Jamestown on May 13, 1607, and saw 
to it that supplies came through and reinforcements were procured in 
the lean years of the settlement. 

The immediate and long-range reasons for the settlement were many 
and, perhaps, thoroughly mixed. Profit and exploitation of the country 
were expected, for, after all, this was a business enterprise and they were 
necessary for long-range activity. A permanent settlement was the ob- 
jective. Support, financial and popular, came from a cross section of 
English life. It seems obvious from accounts and papers of the period 
that it was generally thought that Virginia was being settled for the 
glory of God, for the honor of the King, for the welfare of England, and 
for the advancement of the Company and its individual members. In 
England and in Virginia they expected and did carry the word of God 
to the natives, although not with the same verve as the Spanish. They 
expected to develop natural resources, to free the mother country from 
dependence on European states, to strengthen their navy, and to increase 
national wealth and power. They expected to be a thorn in the side of 
the Spanish Empire; in fact, they hoped one day to challenge and over- 
shadow that empire. They sought to find the answer to agricultural 

unemployment at home. They sought many things, not the least of 
them being gold, silver, and land. As the men stepped ashore on James- 
town Island, perhaps each had a slightly different view of why he was 
there, yet some one or a combination of these motives was probably the 

the first days in Virginia. The expedition of 1607 included a cargo 
of supplies and 144 persons, of whom 104 or 105 (depending on which 
of the more detailed contemporary accounts is accepted) were to remain 
in Virginia as the first settlers. The expedition left England late in 1606. 
The ships sailed down the Thames River from London on December 20 
and, after a slow start, they proceeded over the long route through the 
West Indies. There were stops in the islands, new experiences, and dis- 
agreements among the leaders. Captain Newport was in command, and 
the identity of the councilors who were to govern in Virginia lay hidden 
in a locked box not to be opened until their destination had been 
reached. Dissension at one point led to charges against Capt. John 
Smith who reached the New World in confinement. This was suggestive 
of the later personal and group feuds arid disagreements that plagued 
the first years of the Virginia Colony. 

The "Land of Virginia" was first seen by the lookout on April 26, and 
just a little later in the same day a party was sent ashore at Cape Henry 
to make what was the first landing in the wilderness which they came 

The arrival of the settlers at Jamestown in 1607. (A painting by 
Griffith Baily Coale in the State Capitol, Richmond, Va.) 


to conquer. Having been aboard ship for many weeks, the settlers found 
the expanse of land, the green virgin trees, the cool, fresh water, and the 
unspoiled landscape a pleasant view to behold. At Cape Henry they saw 
Indians and several of the party were wounded by their arrows, notably 
Capt. Gabriel Archer, one of the experienced leaders. They built a 
"shallop" (a small boat), went exploring into the country for short 
distances by land and water, enjoyed the spring flowers, and tasted 
roasted oysters and "fine beautiful strawberries." On April 29, a cross 
was set up among the sand dunes. The next day the ships were moved 
from Cape Henry into Chesapeake Bay to the site on Hampton Roads 
which they named Point Comfort (now Old Point Comfort). 

For about 2 weeks, explorations were made along both banks of the 
James, below and above Jamestown, from its mouth to a point as far 
upstream perhaps as the Appomattox River (Hopewell, Va.). Parties 
went ashore to investigate promising areas, and communication was 
established with the native tribes. On May 12, a point of land at the 
mouth of Archer's Hope (now College) Creek, a little below James- 
town, was examined in detail. Capt. Gabriel Archer was particularly 
impressed with this location and urged that it be the point of settlement. 
The soil seemed good, timber and wildlife were abundant, and it ap- 
peared adaptable for defensive measures if these should become neces- 
sary. It was not possible, however, to bring the ships close to the shore, 
and consequently Archer's Hope was rejected. From this site the ships 
moved directly to Jamestown, where they arrived May 13. On May 14, 
they landed and broke ground for the fort and the town that ultimately 
won the distinction of the first permanent English settlement in 
America and the capital of the Virginia Colony for almost a century. 

In May 1607, the days were warm, the nights, cool. Life was stirring 
in the wilderness and nature had been generous, the colonists thought. 
There were fruits, abundant timber, deer and other animals for food, and 
a not too numerous native population. The hot, humid weather of mid- 
summer and the snow, ice, and emptiness of winter were not in evidence. 
The choice of a site for settlement was both good and bad. The anchor- 
age for ships at Jamestown was good. The island had not then become 
a true island and had an easily controlled dry land isthmus connection 
with the mainland. As the river narrows here, it was one of the best con- 
trol points on the James. It was not used by the Indians; and it was a 
bit inland, hence somewhat out of range of the Spanish menace. Arable 
land on the island was limited by inlets and "guts." The swamps were 
close and bred mosquitoes in abundance and, with contamination so 
easy, drinking water was a problem. All of these facts became evident to 
these first English Americans as the months went by. 

When the orders were opened after arrival in Virginia, it was found 
that the governing body in the colony was to be made up of seven coun- 
cilors. They were Edward Maria Wingfield, of gallant service in the Low 
Countries; Bartholomew Gosnold and Christopher Newport, both 

seasoned seamen and captains; John Ratcliffe, who piloted the Discovery 
to Virginia; John Martin, an earlier commander under Drake; John 
Smith, already an experienced adventurer; and George Kendall, a cousin 
of Sir Edwin Sandys who later was to play a dominant role in the 
Virginia Company. To this list can be added other prominent names- 
George Percy, brother to the Earl of Northumberland and a trained 
sailor; Gabriel Archer, a lawyer who had already explored in the New 
England country; and Rev. Robert Hunt, the vicar at Jamestown, whose 
pious and exemplary living was noted by his associates. 

the fort. The work of establishing Jamestown and of exploring the 
country round about began almost simultaneously. The several weeks 
between May 13 and June 22, when Newport left Virginia for a return 
to England, were busy ones. At Jamestown an area was cleared of trees 
and the fort begun. The soil was readied and the English wheat brought 
over for the purpose was planted. At this point Newport, in one of the 
small boats, led an exploring party as far as the falls of the James (near 
present Richmond) . He was successful in learning a great deal about the 
country, but did not succeed in his search for gold or silver. He was 
absent from Jamestown about a week and returned to find that the 
Indians had launched a fierce attack on the new settlement which had 
been saved, perhaps, by the fact that the ships were near at hand. These 
afforded safe quarters and carried cannon on their decks that had a 
frightening effect on the natives. 

The fort was completed about mid-June. It was triangular in shape, 
with a "Bui war ke" at each corner which was shaped like a "halfe 
Moone." Within the "Bulwarkes" were mounted 4 or 5 pieces of 
artillery— demiculverins which fired balls of about 9 pounds in weight. 
The fort enclosed about 1 acre with its river side extending 420 feet and 
its other sides measuring 300 feet. The principal gate faced the river and 
was in the south side (curtain) of the fort, although there were other 
openings, one at each "Bulwarke," and each was protected by a piece of 
ordnance. The church, storehouses, and living quarters were flimsily 
built of perishable materials, within the walls of the palisaded fort, along 
fixed streets arranged around an open yard. For the first few years this 
fort was Jamestown. 

Before the fort was completed the wheat had come up and was grow- 
ing nicely, as George Percy wrote in what was probably the first essay 
on farming along the James River. About June 10, John Smith, partly 
through the intercession of Robert Hunt, was released and admitted to 
his seat on the council. Relations with the Indians improved. On June 
21, the third Sunday after Trinity, the first recorded Anglican com- 
munion at Jamestown was celebrated. "We had a comunyon. Capt. 
Newport dyned ashore with our dyet, and invyted many of us to supper 
as a farewell." The next day, Christopher Newport raised anchor and 
began the return trip to England. He took letters from those to remain 

in Virginia and carried accounts describing Virginia and the events that 
had occurred. The settlement had been made, and the future seemed 

summer and autumn, 1607. Within the short span of 2 months, condi- 
tions changed drastically. The Indians became cautious and distrustful, 
and provisions, not sufficiently augmented from the country, began to 
run low. Spoilage destroyed some food, and, with the coming of the hot, 
.humid weather, the brackish drinking water proved dangerous. In 
August, death struck often and quickly, taking among others the 
stabilizing hand of Captain Gosnold. Inexperience, unwillingness, or in- 
ability to do the hard work that was necessary and the lack of sufficient 
information about how to survive in a primeval wilderness led to bicker- 
ing, disagreements, and, to what was more serious still, inaction. They 
forgot a most important bit of advice that had been given them by "His 
Majesties Council for Virginia": "... the way to prosper and achieve 
good success is to make yourselves all of one mind for the good of your 
country and your own . . .". 

On arrival in Virginia the resident councilors, as outlined in their 
orders, met and named one of their number as president. Real power 
was with the council, however, and the president was without actual 
independent authority. This was a serious defect (corrected in the sec- 
ond company charter in 1609) which prevented a well-directed and 
coordinated program at Jamestown during the first 3 years. As the 
first summer wore on it was natural that hostility should develop 
toward the titular head of the colony. Had the first president, Edward 
Maria Wingfield, been a stronger, more adventurous, and more dar- 
ing man, conditions might have been a little better, despite his lack 
of real authority. He was not the leader, however, to act and to reason 
later. Consequently, opinion was arrayed against him and charges, some 
unjust no doubt, were formed that led to his deposition and replace- 
ment in one of the two celebrated jury trials which occurred at James- 
town about mid-September. His successor, perhaps no more able, was 
John Ratcliffe who continued for about a year until deposed and replaced 
by Matthew Scrivener, one of those who came over with the first supply. 
It was a little later, in 1608, that Capt. John Smith took the helm as 
chief councilor, which was what the president really was. It was under 
the presidency of RatclifTe, however, that Smith emerged as an able, ex- 
perienced leader, who preferred action to inaction even though it might 
be questioned later. His work and his decisions, sometimes wise, some- 
times not so wise, did much to insure the survival of the colony. 

When the first cool days of approaching autumn touched Jamestown 
in 1607, spirits rose and hopefulness supplanted despair. Disease, which 
had reduced the number to less than 50 persons, subsided; the oppres- 
sive heat lessened; and Indian crops of peas, corn, and beans began to 
mature. Friendlier relations were established with the natives, and barter 

Statue of Capt. John Smith, by William Couper. The Old Church 
Tower is in the background. 

trade developed. As the leaves fell, game became easier to get, ducks 
multiplied in the ponds and marshes, and life in general seemed brighter. 
Work was resumed at Jamestown in preparation for the coming winter, 
and exploration was undertaken. It was in December, while investigat- 
ing the Chickahominy River area, that Smith was taken by the Indians. 
He was eventually carried before Powhatan who released him, some say 
through the intercession of the young Pocahontas. This incident Smith 
did not mention in his detailed account of the events of the Colony writ- 
ten several months later. It was not until a number of years later, in fact, 
that this romantic story evolved in its present form. 

the first supply. Upon returning to Jamestown, Smith was caught in 
the meshes of a feuding council. All was forgotten early in January, 
however, when Newport reached Jamestown with the first supply for 
the settlers. He brought food, equipment, instructions, and news from 
home. His cargo was not sufficient, but for the moment this was over- 
looked. The two ships of the supply had left England together, but the 
second did not reach Virginia until April. 

Shortly after Newport's arrival in January, disaster came to Jamestown. 
Fire swept through the fort, consuming habitations, provisions, ammuni- 
tion, and even some of the palisades. This was a serious blow in the face 
of winter weather. With the help of Newport and his sailors, the church, 
storehouse, palisades, and cabins were partially rebuilt before he sailed 
again for England early in April. Much more could have been done had 

he not consumed so many days in a pompous visit and lengthy negotia- 
tions with the wily Powhatan. Then, too, the ships had to be loaded for 
the return voyage, for the London backers were loudly calling for 
profitable produce. The first of the spring months were spent in cutting 
cedar logs and preparing "clapboards" for sale in England, and a little 
later there seems to have been a mild "gold rush" at Jamestown as some 
hopeful looking golden colored soil was found. This all delayed early 
spring clearing and planting, and boded ill for the coming summer when 
Ratcliffe wasted precious days building a house suitable to his position 
and Smith engaged in important, yet not particularly pressing, 

the first marriage at jamestown. It was in September 1608 that 
Smith became president in fact and inaugurated a program of physical 
improvement at Jamestown. The area about the fort was enlarged and 
the standing structures repaired. At this point, in October, the second 
supply arrived, including 70 settlers, who, when added to the survivors 
in Virginia, raised the over-all population to about 120. Among the new 
arrivals were two women— Mistress Forrest and her maid. Several 
months later, in the church at Jamestown, the maid, Ann Burras, was 
married to one of the settlers, John Laydon, a carpenter by trade. This 
marriage has been ranked as "the first recorded English marriage on the 
soil of the United States." Their child, Virginia, born the next year, was 
the first to be born at Jamestown. Here was the beginning of family life 
in the new colony. Soon other women would arrive to help continue, or 
to establish, new homes. 


came workmen sent over to produce glass, pitch, soap ashes, and other 
items profitable in England. These men, including some Poles and 
Dutchmen, were quickly assigned to specific duties. So rapidly did they 
begin that "trials" of at least one product, glass, were sent home when 
Newport left Jamestown before the end of the year. As usual, in addi- 
tion to settlers and supplies, Newport brought more 'instructions from 
the company officials. The colony was not succeeding financially, and 
it was urged that the council spend more time in the preparation of 
marketable products. It was urged, too, that gold be sought more 
actively; that Powhatan be crowned as a recognition befitting his posi- 
tion; and that more effort be expended in search of the Roanoke settlers. 
These things were all desirable, but, at the moment, impracticable. No 
one understood this better than did Smith, who spoke his mind freely 
in a letter he wrote for dispatch to the authorities at home. Never- 
theless, these projects were emphasized, and the more pressing needs of 
adequate shelter and sufficient food were neglected. 

In the interval from about February to May 1609, Smith reported con- 
siderable material progress in and about Jamestown. Perhaps 40 acres 


The four glass furnaces located by archeological excavation on Glass- 
house Point. 

were cleared and prepared for planting in Indian corn, the new grain 
that fast became a staple commodity. A deep well was dug in the 
fort. The church was re-covered and 20 cabins built. A second trial was 
made at glass manufacture in the furnaces built late in 1608. A block- 
house was built at the isthmus which connected the island l to the main- 
land for better control of the Indians, and a new fort was erected on a 
little creek across the river from Jamestown. Smith was now in com- 
mand, as his fellow councilors either had returned to England or were 
dead. About this time there came a new disaster. With all attention cen- 
tered on the numerous construction projects, insufficient protection was 
given the meager supply of grain. When discovered, rats had consumed 
almost all of the corn stores. Faced with this situation, Smith found it 
necessary to scatter the settlers, sending some to live with the Indians 
and some to eat at the oyster banks where the unbalanced oyster diet 
is reported to have caused their skin "to peel off from head to foot as if 
they had been fleade." Only "a small guarde of gentlemen & some others 
[were left] about the president at James Towne." 

In midsummer of 1609, conditions at Jamestown were not good, 
although it is doubtful that they were any worse than during the two 
previous summers. The settlers were becoming acclimated, and they 

1 Although Jamestown Island was not a true island until the isthmus was washed out 
about the period of the Revolution, it was called an island even in the early years of the 


were learning the ways of the new country. Supplies were low, yet the 
number of colonists was small, and a good harvest and a good autumn 
might have improved matters had not some 400 new, inexperienced 
settlers sailed into the James without their leaders, without instructions, 
and with damaged supplies. To add to other complications, they brought 
fever and plague. In the selection of prospective settlers for the voyage 
the standards had been low, and too many ne'er-do-wells, and even 
renegades, had been included. This was the third supply, and it reached 
Jamestown in August 1609. 

pany had received a new charter in May 1609 which corrected some of 
the defects of the old and made provision for a strong governor to rule 
in the Colony. Despite discouraging news from Virginia, the supporters 
of the enterprise did not abandon their plans to maintain the colony. 
The second charter, as this was called, was subscribed and incorporated 
by 56 companies of London and 659 persons, of whom 21 were peers, 96 
knights, 11 doctors, ministers, etc., 53 captains, 28 esquires, 58 gentle- 
men, 110 merchants, 282 citizens, and others not classified. Altogether 
they represented a cross section of English life in that period. 

It was resolved to send a much larger expedition to Virginia than the 
three sent prior to this date. It went out in June under Sir Thomas Gates 
and with him were Sir George Somers and Captain Newport. There 
were 9 ships and about 500 settlers. The voyage was uneventful until 
they ran into a stiff hurricane that broke up the fleet and cast ashore 
in the Bermuda Islands the flagship with its three commanders. The rest 
of the fleet, except one small ship lost at sea, limped into the James and 
went on to Jamestown. 

Returning to Virginia in the third supply were several men who had 
been earlier leaders in the colony and who were now all hostile to 
Smith— Archer, Ratcliffe, and Martin. A confusing scene developed over 
command. The old leaders, particularly Smith, refused to give way to 
the new in the absence of Gates, the appointed governor, and his in- 
structions. There was considerable bickering which led to an uneasy 
settlement, leaving Smith in charge for the duration of his yearly term, 
now almost expired. 

It was obvious to everyone that there were too many men for all to 
remain at Jamestown. John Martin was sent to attempt a settlement at 
Nansemond, on the south side of the James below Jamestown, while 
Capt. Francis West, brother of Lord Delaware, was sent to settle at the 
falls of the James. Returning to Jamestown after an inspection tour at 
the falls, Captain Smith was injured by burning gunpowder and incapaci- 
tated. The implication in the documents of the period is that Ratcliffe, 
Archer, and Martin used this opportunity to depose him and to compel 
him to return to England to face their charges against him. These three 
men, failing to agree on a replacement from their own number, per- 


suaded George Percy to accept the position of president. Percy was in 
command during the terrible winter that followed. 

the "starving time." The winter of 1609-10 has been described 
through the years as the "starving time" — seemingly, an accurate de- 
scription. It saw the population shrink from 500 to about 60 as a result 
of disease, sickness, Indian arrows, and malnutrition. It destroyed morale 
and reduced the men to scavengers stalking the fort, fields, and woods 
for anything that might be used as food. When spring came there was 
little spirit left in the settlement. It would seem unjust to attribute the 
disaster to Percy, who did what he could to ameliorate conditions by 
attempting trade and keeping the men busy. The "starving time" 
appears to have been caused by an accumulation of circumstances. 

There was the matter of the third supply which arrived in such poor 
condition very late in the season. Bickering prevented measures that 
could have been taken to prepare for the winter. Dissension continued 
even after Smith's departure. Then, too, the Indians knew of conditions 
at Jamestown, for they actually kept scouts in the fort much of the time. 
They were learning the ways of the white man and had come to see that 
he was most vulnerable in the winter season. Heretofore they had sup- 
plied him corn— by gift, by trade, or unwillingly through seizure. In the 
winter of 1609-10, they had a good opportunity to make him suffer, and 
throughout this period the Indians were openly hostile. Perhaps the 
increasingly heavy use of force and armed persuasion in dealing with 
them had resulted in this attitude which, from their point of view, proved 
highly effective. In the fall of 1608, they had forced the settlers in from 
Nansemond and the falls. Then, in the winter of 1609-10, Powhatan 
captured and killed Ratcliffe who had gone to trade with him. All 
through that winter it was dangerous to be alone far from the fort. 

Not having sufficient stores set aside, not able to deal with the natives, 
and without the use of the resources of the countryside, there is small 
wonder that conditions became serious, even desperate, for the settlers. 
Those few men fortified on Hampton Roads under Capt. James Davis 
(after Captain West, perhaps under threat from the crew, left Virginia 
for England in the colony's best ship) fared far better than did those at 
Jamestown. Even the coming of spring failed to restore full hope and 
vitality to the survivors, yet certainly it must have been good to know 
that winter was over. 

Virginia almost abandoned. In May 1610, the hearts of the weary 
settlers were gladdened when Sir Thomas Gates, their new governor, 
sailed into the James. For about a year he and the survivors of the wreck 
of the Sea Venture had labored in Bermuda to make possible the con- 
tinuation of their voyage to Virginia. The last part of the journey was 
made in two boats built by them in Bermuda— the Patience and the 
Deliverance, names suggestive of their thankfulness for survival. It was 

403767 O-F-56 3 15 

not a pleasant sight that greeted them at Jamestown. Ruin and desola- 
tion were everywhere. Gates, with his Council, on July 7, 1610, wrote 
that Jamestown seemed 

raither as the ruins of some auntient [fortification, then that any 
people living might now inhabit it: the pallisadoes he found tourne 
downe, the portes open, the gates from the hinges, the church ruined 
and unfrequented, empty howses (whose owners untimely death 
had taken newly from them) rent up and burnt, the living not hable, 
as they pretended, to step into the woodes to gather other fire- wood; 
and, it is true, the Indian as fast killing without as the famine and 
pestilence within. 

Gates promptly distributed provisions, such as he had, and introduced 
a code of martial law, the code that was strengthened later by Delaware 
and made famous by its strict enforcement under the governorship of 
Sir Thomas Dale. After surveying the condition of the settlement and 
realizing that the supplies he had brought would not last 3 weeks, Gates 
took council with the leaders. They decided to abandon the settlement. 
On June 7, 1610, the settlers, except some of the Poles and Dutchmen 
who were with Powhatan, boarded the ship, left Jamestown, and started 
down the James. 

The next morning, while still in the river, advance word reached Gates 
that Lord Delaware had arrived at Point Comfort on the way to James- 
town and was bringing 150 settlers and a generous supply. The bad news 
carried to England by the returning ships of the third supply, late in 
1609, had caused considerable stir in Virginia Company circles and had 
resulted in Delaware's decision to go to Virginia. Learning of the new 
supply, Gates hastened back to Jamestown. The new settlement had 
been saved in a manner that was recognized at that time as an act of 

lord Delaware reaches Jamestown. On June 10, Delaware reached 
'James Citty" and made his landing. He entered the fort through the 
south gate, and, with his colors flying, went on to the church where Rev. 
Richard Buck delivered an impressive sermon. Then his ensign, Anthony 
Scott, read his commission, and Gates formally delivered to him his own 
authority as governor. Delaware's speech to the assembled colonists 
cheered them, advised them, warned them, and reproached them. Thanks 
to the pen of William Strachey, we have a good account of these events, 
including the best description of the fort, church, and cabins that is now 
known to have been preserved. With the arrival of Delaware, the settle- 
ment was given new life and new hope. Lean times lay ahead, yet the 
most difficult years lay behind. Virginia now had a government that 
made for stability under the governor, and the old settlers, who, a little 
later, came to be called "Ancient Planters," had learned well by 


Gates, after dealing with the Indians, left for England. Delaware, who 
continued to live aboard ship for a time, called a Council, reorganized 
the colonists, and directed operations to promote the welfare of the 
colony, including the construction of two forts near Point Comfort. He 
fell sick, however, and, after a long illness, was forced to leave James- 
town and Virginia in March 1611, leaving the now veteran administrator, 
George Percy, as governor in charge. With Delaware went Dr. Lawrence 
Bohun, who had experimented extensively with the curative powers of 
plants and herbs at Jamestown. 

SIR thomas dale and military law. In May, Sir Thomas Dale, on 
military leave from his post in the Low Countries, arrived as deputy gov- 
ernor of Virginia. He proceeded to give form and substance to the martial 
law which had been evoked by his predecessors. It led to rather complete 
regimentation, and he was severely criticized for it later, particularly by 
those hostile to his administration. He began by posting proclamations 
"for the publique view" at Jamestown. Later, he thoroughly inspected 
suitable settlement sites and surveyed conditions generally. He wrote, 
on May 25, 1611, that on arrival at Jamestown he found ". . . no corn 
sett, some few seeds put into a private garden or Two; but the cattle, 
cows, goats, swine, Poultry &c to be well and carefully on all hands pre- 
served and all in good plight and likeing." To get things in order at the 
seat of government, one party was designated to repair the church, an- 
other to work on the stable, another to build a wharf. When things 
were reasonably well in hand at Jamestown, he made plans to push the 
decision to open a new settlement above Jamestown which would be- 
come the real center of the colony. The reasons for such a removal of 
the seat of government are well known— not sufficient high land, poor 
drinking water, too much marsh, and a location not far enough upstream 
to be out of reach of the Spanish. 

jamestown, 1611-16. Under Dale, from May 1611 to 1616, and under 
Gates who replaced him for several years, beginning in August 1611, 
the emphasis was away from Jamestown, but the capital was not actually 

In 1612, "Master George Percie . . . [was busy] with the keeping of 
Jamestown" while much of the colony had been "moved up river." 
The first settlement was then looked upon as chiefly a place of safety 
for hogs and cattle. In 1614, it was made up of "two faire rowes of 
howses, all of framed Timber, two stories, and an vpper Garret or Corne 
loft high, besides three large, and substantiall Storehowses ioyned to- 
geather in length some hundred and twenty foot, and in breadth forty . . . 
this town hath been lately newly, and strongly impaled, and a faire plat- 
forme for Ordnance in the west Bulworke raised." Without the town 
". . . in the Island [were] some very pleasant, and beutifull howses, 
two Blockhouses . . . and certain other farme howses." In 1616, it was 
a post of 50 under the command of Lt. John Sharpe, who was acting in 


the absence of Capt. Francis West. Thirty-one of these were "farmors" 
and all maintained themselves with "food and rayment." 

The Gates- Dale 5-year administration (1611-16) actually saw Virginia 
established as a going concern. The role of Dale in all of this seems to 
have been a heavy one. Martial law brought order and uniformity in 
operations and compelled the people to go to work. Dale saw to it that 
corn was planted and harvested and that the laws were observed. He 
made peace with the Indians. 

So effective were Dale's measures that one of his contemporaries, 
John Rolfe, wrote "whereupon a peace was concluded, which still con- 
tinues so firme, that our people yearlely plant and reape quietly, and 
travell in the woods a fowling and a hunting as freely and securely from 
danger or treacherie as in England. The great blessings of God have fol- 
lowed this peace, and it, next under him, hath bredd our plentie . . .". 
All this was accomplished when the fortunes of the Virginia Company 
were at a low point and little support was being sent to the colony. John 
Rolfe then went on to predict that Dale's "worth and name . . . will 
out last the standing of this plantation . . .". 

Martial law, strictly administered at first, was gradually relaxed in ap- 
plication as conditions stabilized, and within a few years Dale took the 
step of granting 3-acre plots to private men for their enjoyment outside 
of the common store. This was a big step in the evolution of the private 
ownership of land. In the beginning, ownership was communal and 
company controlled. In 1609, a future division of both land and profits 
was anticipated, but it was about 1619 before individual grants were 
made. A part of this evolution was the headright system of acquisition, 
whereby persons were rewarded for venturing to Virginia themselves, or 
their capital. Dale's grants of a semiprivate nature, about 1615, were a 
step in this evolution as well. The headright system which developed at 
Jamestown and on the banks of the James was later adapted in other 
colonies and continued in use for generations. 

Gates and Dale in their administration had the help of other enter- 
prising and daring early Virginians. There was Capt. Samuel Argall 
whose later work as governor of the colony has sometimes been criti- 
cized, especially his handling of the company finances. This should not 
becloud his earlier helpfulness in getting Virginia established. He 
pioneered in making a direct crossing of the Atlantic to save time and to 
avoid the Spanish, who now were fearful that the Virginia enterprise 
might succeed and were sending spies to Virginia. (Some of these spies 
were captured and interned at Jamestown.) Argall led in exploration, 
both in Virginia waters and northward along the coastline. He was adept 
at shipbuilding and in the Indian trade. It was evidently he who dis- 
covered the best fishing seasons and the fact that the fish made "runs" in 
the bay and in the rivers. He made an open attack on the French settle- 
ments to the north in New England and Nova Scotia, returning to 
Jamestown with his captives. 


Pocahontas. While on a trading expedition on the Potomac, Argall 
captured Pocahontas and brought her as a prisoner to Jamestown in an 
attempt to deal with her father, Powhatan. Pocahontas was no stranger 
at Jamestown. She had often visited there before, once in the spring of 
1608 to seek some of her countrymen held as hostages in the fort 

In 1613, Pocahontas was well received at Jamestown, where she had 
not been for some time; and when her father refused to pay the price 
asked for her ransom, she was detained. Later, she preferred life with 
the English and did not wish to return to her native village. She was 
placed under the tutelage of Rev. Alexander Whitaker who instructed 
her in the Christian faith. Eventually Pocahontas was baptized. In April 
1614, in the church at Jamestown, she married John Rolfe, one of the 
settlers. This was a celebrated marriage that did much to improve rela- 
tions with the Indians. About 1616, the couple went to England where 
Pocahontas was entertained at court. She died there as she was about to 
return to Virginia, in 1617, and her body rests at Gravesend. She had one 
son, Thomas Rolfe, who later came to Virginia. Through him many 
today can trace their ancestry to Pocahontas. 

tobacco. After the death of Pocahontas, John Rolfe came back to Vir- 
ginia alone to resume the work which he had begun there as early as 
1610. Perhaps he continued his work with tobacco which had already 
resulted in a plant that could compete in taste and quality with that 
which had given the Spanish a monopoly of the tobacco market. 

In the first years of the settlement every effort had been made to find 
products in the New World that would assure financial success for the 
settlers and the company. Pitch, tar, timber, sassafras, cedar, and other 
natural products were sent in the returning ships. Attempts to produce 
glass on a paying scale proved futile, as did early efforts to make silk, 
using the native mulberry trees growing in abundance. The glass fur- 

Monument to Pocahontas, by William Ordway Partridge, near the 
entrance to Jamestown National Historic Site. 

naces fell into disuse, and rats ate the silkworms. The native tobacco 
plant, found growing wild was "... not of the best kind . . . [but was] 
poore and weake, and of a byting tast . . ." and held little promise. 

About 1610-11, the seed of a different species of the plant was im- 
ported from Trinidad, then famous for the quality of its tobacco. Later 
some came from Venezuela. These were planted and a process of selec- 
tion and crossbreeding began which resulted in the commercially valuable 
Virginia leaf. John Rolfe, a smoker himself, has been credited as the 
pioneer English colonist in this experimentation. 

In addition to the improvement of the plant, Rolfe was one of the 
first regularly to grow tobacco for export and as such was the father of 
the Virginia tobacco trade and industry. The first experimental ship- 
ment of the newly developed Virginia leaf came about 1613, and because 
of its pleasant taste it was well received in some quarters. Production 
was slow for several years. Dale restricted its cultivation until basic com- 
modities, such as corn, were well advanced. In the 1615-16 period only 
2,300 pounds reached London from Virginia. Capt. George Yeardley, 
the next to govern, gave the new crop his whole-hearted support, with 
the result that in 1617 exports reached the 20,000 pound total, and by 
1619 this had been more than doubled. Thus, a new trade and industry 
were born in the colony, which proved to be the economic salvation 
of Virginia, and provided a means for making slavery profitable. To- 
bacco and slavery together led to the development of important char- 
acteristics of the whole social, political, and economic structure of the 
Old South. One of the immediate effects of tobacco culture in Virginia 
was the impetus it gave to the expansion of the area of settlement and 
to the number of settlers coming to Virginia. 

the spread of settlement. Jamestown was planned as the first perma- 
nent English settlement in Virginia. The fixed intention was to establish 
other seats as soon as possible. As the limitations of Jamestown became 
obvious, the desire for other townsites was intensified. Soon after the 
settlement was made at Jamestown, temporary garrisons were placed at 
outlying points for protective and administrative reasons— at Kecough- 

Tobacco cultivation as practiced at Jamestown. (A conjectural paint- 
ing by Sidney E. King.) 



&f£' V* 




tan (Hampton- Newport News), Cape Henry, and at the falls of the 
James. The first efforts in this direction, except at Kecoughtan, ended 
in the autumn of 1609 under pressure from the Indians. With the arrival 
of Delaware, Kecoughtan (renamed Elizabeth City in 1619) was estab- 
lished as a permanent settlement. Dale and Gates went on to establish 
the city of Henricus (Henrico) well up the James near the falls. Then 
came Charles City (the earlier Bermuda Nether Hundred) which de- 
veloped into the last of the four settlements established by the company, 
each of which had the designation "city." These four settlements were 
the only towns specifically set up by the company and consequently 
under its complete control. These later came to be mentioned in the 
records as the "Four Ancient Boroughs" or "four ancient Incorporations." 
As one of these, Jamestown became the center of the political subdivision 
that developed into one of the original Virginia shires in 1634. Within 
the next decade the term county replaced that of shire, and today, al- 
though Jamestown has ceased to exist as a corporate organization, James 
City County continues to function as the oldest governing unit in 
English America. 

Although the four "cities" constituted the first settlements in Vir- 
ginia and were the only ones established directly under company con- 
trol, they were but the beginning. About 1616, a new plan gave rise to 
the creation of settlements known as "particular plantations," some- 
times called "hundreds" as a result of the practice of awarding land on 
the basis of 100 acres or of sending settlers in groups of the same num- 
ber. These were established with company permission, which included 
a grant of land made to individual groups of stockholders organized for 
the purpose of setting up a specific settlement. The first of these was 
Martin's Hundred, in 1617, and others followed rapidly. By the summer 
of 1619, there were seven particular plantations already functioning, in 
adcfttion to the original "cities," a term sometimes thought to derive 
from the form of government being used by the "City of Geneva" in 
Switzerland which was held in high esteem by some of the company 
officials, particularly by Sir Edwin Sandys who became Treasurer of the 
Virginia Company in 1618. 

With the spread of settlement east and west along the James and out- 
ward along its rivers and creeks as well, Jamestown lay approximately 
in the center of an expanding and growing colony. It was the capital 
town and the principal center of the colony's social and political life. 
In size it remained small, yet it was intimately and directly related to 
all of the significant developments of the 17th century. Its physical 
aspects changed with the evolution of 17th century architectural patterns 
and designs. Life in the town was varied and perhaps representative of 
the best in the colony for almost a century. As wealth accumulated, the 
manner of living broadened and improved. There is strong evidence that 
Jamestown was the first to feel the impact of the advantages and efforts 
that this produced, particularly in the first half century of its existence. 


Material progress is evident as early as 1619 in the letter of John Pory, 
secretary of the colony, written from Virginia late in that year: 

Nowe that your lordship may knowe, that we are not the variest 
beggars in the worlde, our co we keeper here of James citty on Sun- 
day goes accowtered all in freshe flaming silke; and a wife of one 
that in England had professed the black arte, not of a schollar, but 
of a collier of Croydon, weares her rough bever hatt with a faire 
perle hatband, and a silken suite thereto correspondent. 


internal changes in the Virginia Company that led to the resignation of 
Sir Thomas Smith as treasurer, and to the election of Sir Edwin Sandys 
as his successor. This roughly corresponded to changes in company 
policy toward the administration of the colony and to intensified efforts 
to develop Virginia. It led to the abolition of martial law, to the estab- 
lishment of individual property ownership, and greater freedom and 
participation in matters of government. Virginia already enjoyed a high 
degree of religious freedom due, perhaps, to the fact that a number of 
company officers were strongly under the influence of the puritan ele- 
ment within the Church of England. This, together with the fact that 
Virginia was not settled purely for religious reasons, caused less stress 
to be put on absolute uniformity in church matters. Sir George Yeardley, 
recently knighted, returned to Virginia as governor in April 1619, and 
was the first spokesman in the colony for the new policy toward Vir- 
ginia. In England it had been ably advanced on behalf of the colony by 
Sir Edwin Sandys, the Earl of Southampton, and John and Nicholas 

Soon after his arrival, Yeardley issued a call for a representative legis- 
lative assembly which convened at Jamestown on July 30, 1619, and 
remained in session until August 4. This was the earliest example ofour 
present system of representative government in America. The full inten- 
tions behind the moves that led to this historic meeting may never be 
known. It seems to have been an attempt to give to the Englishmen in 
America those rights and privileges of Englishmen that had been 
guaranteed to them in the original company charter, rather than a 
planned attempt to establish self-government in the New World on a 
scale that might have been in violation of English law and custom at the 
time. Whatever the motive, the significance of this meeting in the church 
at Jamestown remains the same. This body of duly chosen representa- 
tives of the people has continued in existence and its evolution leads 
directly to our State legislatures and to the Congress of the United 

developments, 1619-24. Another significant development of 1619 was 
the sending by the company of maidens to Virginia to be wives of the 
settlers. Although many women were already established with their 


families in the Jamestown colony, the company recognized that homes 
and children for all the men would be conducive to established family 
life and permanent residence. Under this new project, the first maidens 
arrived in May and June 1620. Others followed, as ships brought more 
and more young women seeking their fortunes in Virginia. 

The third momentous event in 1619 was the arrival of Negroes in a 
Dutch warship. They remained in Virginia, some finding homes, and 
some as indentured servants even as some white men were at that time. 
Nevertheless, this first arrival of Negroes was to lead to the introduc- 
tion of slavery into the colony. It was more than a generation before 
the institution of slavery began to be entrenched as the backbone of 
the economic life in Virginia, yet this event of 1619 was the first move 
in that direction. 

Under Dale, the emphasis on colonization was away from Jamestown, 
yet later governors found the original seat desirable. Capt. Samuel Argall, 
who succeeded Yeardley as deputy governor in 1617, wrote that he ad- 
vanced physical improvements prior to his hasty withdrawal from 
Virginia in the spring of 1619 to avoid arrest under charges of mis- 
management of company affairs. Argall had been the first to prescribe 
limits for Jamestown. Yeardley followed him as governor, and for the 
next few years Jamestown, at this time most often called "J ames City," 
witnessed considerable growth and activity. The town, long before, had 
expanded outside of the fort and spread along the shore on the extreme 

A typical view of the landscape on Jamestown Island. The high ground 
is principally along low ridges, sometimes called "fingers," divided by 
marshes or very low ground. 


west end of the island. The borough or incorporation, of which it was 
the center, extended west to the Chickahominy River and downriver 
beyond Hog Island. Its territory was along the north side of the river and 
included the south side as well — the area that later became Surry County. 
West toward the Chickahominy the area adjacent to Jamestown Island 
became rather heavily developed and was referred to as the "Suburbs of 
James City." 

The period from 1619 to 1624 was one of considerable activity for 
Virginia in general and Jamestown in particular. The reorganized Vir- 
ginia Company, following its political changes, renewed its efforts to 
expand the colony and to stimulate profitable employment. Heavy 
emphasis was placed on new industries, particularly iron and glass, the 
latter evidently attempted a second time on Glasshouse Point. The 
planting of mulberry trees and the growing of silkworms were advanced 
by the dispatch of treatises on silk culture and silkworm eggs in a 
project in which King James I himself had a personal interest. Immigra- 
tion to the colony was increased, and measures were taken to meet the 
religious and educational needs of the settlers. This was the period that 
saw the attempt to establish a college at Henrico. 

The industrial and manufacturing efforts of these years, however, were 
not destined to succeed. This condition was not due to any laxity on the 
part of George Sandys, resident treasurer in Virginia, who was some- 
thing of an economic on-the-spot supervisor for the company. Virginia 
could not yet support these projects profitably, and interest was lacking 
on the part of the planters who found in tobacco a source of wealth 
superior to anything else that had been tried. Tobacco was profitable, 
and it was grown, at times, even in the streets of Jamestown. It was the 
profit from tobacco that supported the improved living conditions that 
came throughout the colony. 

These Englishmen who came to settle in the wilderness retained their 
desire for the advantages of life in England. Books, for example, were 
highly valued, and with the passage of the years were no uncommon 
commodity in Virginia. As early as 1608, Rev. Robert Hunt had a 
library at Jamestown, which was consumed by fire in January of that 
year. Each new group of colonists seemingly added to the store on 
hand— Bibles, Books of Common Prayer, other religious works, medical 
and scientific treatises, legal publications, accounts of gardening, and 
such. In 1621, the company wrote to the colonial officials regarding 
works for a new minister being sent to the colony that: "As for bookes 
we doubt not but you wilbe able to supplie him out of the lybraries of 
so many that have died." By this date there was local literary effort, too, 
such as that by Treasurer George Sandys who continued his celebrated 
translation of Ovid's Metamorphoses in the house of William Pierce at 
Jamestown. Then, too, in March 1623, a gentleman of the colony sent 
from "lames his Towne" the ballad "Good Newes from Virginia" in 
which, among other things, he describes the arrival of the governor's 


wife at Jamestown and uses this to prod others to support the colony 
and to settle in Virginia. 

But last of all that Lady f aire, 
that woman worth renoune: 
That left her Country and her friends, 
to grace braue lames his towne. 

The wife unto our Gouernour, 

did safely here ariue: 

With many gallants following her, 

whom Godpreserue aliue. 

What man would stay when Ladies gay, 

both Hues and fortunes leaues: 

To taste what we haue truely sowne, 

truth never man deceaues. 

(From The William and Mary Quarterly, 

3rd Ser., V, 357-8) 

"new towne." It is in the 1619 to 1624 period that the first clear picture 
of Jamestown emerges, for this period corresponds with the earliest 
known property records that exist. The town had outgrown the original 
fort in some years past and now appeared as a fairly nourishing settle- 
ment. The records reveal that many of the property owners were yeomen, 
merchants, carpenters, hog-raisers, farmers, joiners, shopkeepers, and 
ordinary "fellows," as well as governors and colonial officials. The "New 
Towne" section of James City developed in this period as the old section 
proved too small and the residents began to build more substantial 
houses, principally frame on brick foundations. The Indian massacre of 
1622, that wrought such heavy devastation in the colony, did not 
reach Jamestown which was warned through the efforts of the Indian, 
Chanco. It did temporarily cause congestion in the Jamestown area, 
however, as the survivors from the more distant settlements fell back 
for safety and to regroup. The punitive Indian campaigns that followed 
were directed from Jamestown by the governor, who resided there. 

The population figures taken in these years give a good idea of the 
size of Jamestown in this period. In February 1624, it is recorded that 
183 persons were living in Jamestown and 35 others on the island out- 
side of the town. These are listed by name, as are the 87 who died be- 
tween April 1623 and the following February. The death toll suggests 
that the mortality rate was continuing high and that it was still difficult 
for newcomers to adapt themselves to the Virginia environment. In the 


"census" of January 1625, a total of 124 residents are listed for "James 
Citty" and an additional 51 for the island. In the over-all total of 175, 
122 were males and 53, females. At that time, Governor Sir Francis 
Wyatt and former Governor Yeardley had two of the largest musters 
for the town, which included women, children, indentured servants, and 
Negroes. Nine Negroes were listed for Jamestown and the island, 
evidently some of those brought there in 1619. 

Aside from the population statistics, the musters of January 1625 give 
much more information. Jamestown had a church, a court-of-guard 
(guardhouse), 3 stores, a merchant's store, and 33 houses. Ten of the 
colony's 40 boats were here, including a skiff, a "shallop" of 4 tons, and 
a "barque" of 40 tons. There were stores offish (24,880 pounds to be 
exact), corn, peas, and meal. There were four pieces of ordnance, sup- 
plies of powder, shot and lead, and, for individual use, "fixt peeces," 
snaphances, pistols, swords (to the number of 70), coats of mail, quilted 
coats, and suits of armor (35 of them complete). The bulk of the 
colony's livestock seems to have been localized in the Jamestown area— 
about half (183) of the cattle, a little more than half (265) of the hogs, 
and well over half (126) of the goats. The one horse listed for the 
colony was at Jamestown. 

The "census" clearly indicates that the population of Jamestown was 
not keeping pace with that of the colony. The needs of tobacco culture- 
open fields and new soil— and the abundance of navigable waters in the 
rivers, bays, and creeks of tidewater Virginia led to a scattered popula- 
tion, based on the plantation system. These factors prevented the rise of 
trade centers and large towns for almost a century, despite the best efforts 
of both home and colonial officials. The idea was to make Jamestown 
the center of social, political, and economic life and to develop it into 
a city of some proportions. In size, it never attained that of a city and it 
failed to dominate trade and commerce. It was, however, the hub of 
political and social life for as long as it was the capital of Virginia— 92 
years. Hence, its story is vital to an understanding of American begin- 
nings. Its citizens, in their daily life and work, developed the origins of 
many of our institutions, styles, and customs in speech, in architecture, 
in dress, and in government organization. 

Virginia made A royal colony. The Virginia Company established 
the first permanent English settlement in America, but did not reap the 
profits that it had expected. Despite reorganization and large expendi- 
tures, it never achieved its full objective and was increasingly subject to 
criticism. Matters reached a head in 1624 when James I dissolved the 
company, thereby removing the hand that had guided Virginia affairs 
for 17 years. With this act Virginia became a royal colony and continued 
as such until the American Revolution made it free and independent. 
From the point of view of operations in the colony the change was 


The remains of a brick and tile kiln (c. 1650 ) found at Jamestown. 
This is the best preserved and most complete of several kilns that have 
been uncovered, showing that the Jamestown residents manufactured 
many of their bricks and roofing tiles. 

almost painless although there was concern over land titles and a con- 
tinuance of the assembly which had already voiced its feeling on taxa- 
tion without representation. The company governor gave way to the 
royal appointee, but most institutions were left intact. 

Sir Francis Wyatt was the last company governor, and he continued 
in office for a while as royal governor. When he left for England, in 
1626, Yeardley again became governor and served until he died at James- 
town the next year. Capt. Francis West was named to the post as deputy. 
Another deputy, Dr. John Pott, followed next in turn, and he was 
replaced by the royal appointee, Sir John Harvey. 

governor harvey DEPOSED. Sir John Harvey first came to Virginia in 
1624 as a member of a committee to report on conditions in the colony. 
It was in 1630 that he returned as royal governor and settled himself at 
'James cittie, the seate of the Governor." In 1632, he had a commodious 
house here and was complaining of the expense of the entertainment that 
he had to finance in "the Governors owne house." Whether because of 
his personal nature, his own view or interpretation of government, or 
because of the severe opposition that confronted him, he managed to 
become thoroughly disliked throughout the colony. His high-handed 
and autocratic methods arrayed even his council against him. 

403767 O-F-56 4 


In the end, his council, in meetings at Jamestown, moved to depose 
him, naming another to act in his stead— a bold measure, indeed. The 
assembly, in May 1635, approved this action, and Harvey was returned 
to England to answer the charges placed against him there. The King, 
it is true, returned Harvey to his post as royal governor in 1637, but un- 
doubtedly both he and Harvey were impressed by the action that the 
colonists had taken to redress their grievances— they had deposed a 
royal governor. 

brick architecture. When Governor Harvey reached Jamestown in 
January 1637 he made a special effort to promote the growth of the 
town. The assembly passed an act offering a "portion of land for a house 
and garden" to every person who would undertake to build on it within 
2 years. This was the beginning of considerable activity at Jamestown. 
A number of new patents were issued, and, in January 1639, the gov- 
ernor and his council could report that 12 houses and stores had been 
constructed and others had been begun. One of those already built was 
the house of Richard Kemp, secretary of the colony. His house was 
described as "one of brick" and "the fairest ever known in this coun- 
try for substance and uniformity." Kemp's house is the earliest all-brick 
house in Virginia that it has been possible to date conclusively up to 
the present time. It was in 1639, too, that the first brick church was be- 
gun, and a levy was collected for the acquisition of a statehouse. Among 
the new land holders at Jamestown in this period of activity were Capt. 
Thomas Hill, Rev. Thomas Hampton, and Alexander Stoner, a "brick- 
maker." As the area along the river was occupied, additional patentees 
obtained holdings just outside of the town proper and others settled in 
the few lots that were not in use. Sir William Berkeley, who became 
governor in 164 1, continued the emphasis on the construction of sub- 
stantial houses. In that same year, the colony acquired its first State- 
house, formerly the property of Harvey and a building in which public 
business had been transacted for, perhaps, as much as 10 years. 

In March 1646, measures were taken to discourage the sale of liquors 
on the island, and a system of licensed ordinary keepers was adopted. 
Later in the year, houses for the encouragement of linen manufacture 
were projected for Jamestown. In 1649, the General Assembly estab- 
lished a market and near the market area was the landing for the ferry 
that ran across the James to Surry County. Even this new action, how- 
ever, failed to develop a town of any great extent. The same was true 
of the Act of 1662 which attempted to encourage a substantial building 
program for the capital town. Only a few houses were erected before the 
new impetus had spent itself, and, in 1676, it is known that the town was 
still little more than a large village. One of the more detailed descrip- 
tions at this time relates that "The Towne . . . [extended] east and west, 
about 3 quarters of a mile . . . [and] comprehended som[e] 16 or 18 


houses, most as is the church built of brick, faire and large; and in them 
about a dozen families (for all the howses are not inhabited) getting 
their liveings by keeping of ordnaries, at extreordnary rates." 

the commonwealth period. The decade of 1650-60 corresponds 
to the period of the Commonwealth Government in England. Vir- 
ginia, for the most part, appeared loyal to the crown, yet in 1652 the 
colony submitted to the new government when it demonstrated its 
power before Jamestown. Governor Berkeley withdrew to his home at 
Green Spring, just above Jamestown, and the General Assembly assumed 
the governing role, acting under the Parliament of England. Virginia 
was given liberal treatment, with considerable freedom in taxation and 
matters of government. The governors in this interval, elected by the 
assembly, were Richard Bennett, Edward Digges (an active supporter 
of the production of silk in Virginia), and Samuel Mathews. In 1660, 
on the death of Mathews, the assembly recalled Berkeley to the gov- 
ernor's office, an act that was approved by Charles II, who was restored 
to the English throne in that year. The decade passed quietly for the 
colony, although, in the years that followed, it had occasion to remember 
the liberal control that it had enjoyed. It had witnessed an increased 
wave of immigration that brought some of those who were fleeing from 
England, and this more than offset the loss of the Puritans whom Berke- 
ley had forced out of the colony prior to 1650. 

In matters of religion, Virginia continued loyal to the Church of Eng- 
land, although there was considerable freedom for the individual. The 
Puritans found it uncomfortable to remain, however, and two Quaker 
preachers, William Cole and George Wilson, soon found themselves 
in prison at Jamestown. Writing "From that dirty dungeon in James- 
town," in 1662, they described the prison as a place ". . . where we have 
not the benefit to do what nature requireth, nor so much as air, to blow 
in at a window, but close made up with brick and lime. ..." Lord Balti- 
more (George Calvert) did not find the colony hospitable when he 
visited Jamestown with his family in 1629, for, being a Roman Catholic, 
he could not take the Oath of Allegiance and Supremacy which denied 
the authority of the Pope. 

bacon's rebellion, 1676-77. Bacon's Rebellion, one of the most dra- 
matic episodes in the history of the English colonies, stands out as a 
highlight in 17th-century Virginia. It broke in spectacular fashion 
and is often hailed as a forerunner of the Revolution. It constituted the 
only serious civil disturbance experienced by Virginia during its entire 
life as a British colony. It occupies a prominent spot in the annals of 
the times, and in any chronicle of Jamestown its significance can be mul- 
tiplied many times, for a number of its stirring events took place at the 


seat of government and resulted in excessive physical destruction in the 

The rebellion had its origin in Indian frontier difficulties and a royal 
Governor (Sir William Berkeley) who, possibly as a result of his in- 
volvement in the Indian trade, had become somewhat dictatorial, tyran- 
nical, and a firm advocate of the status quo. The leader for the exposed 
frontiersmen and the generally disgruntled Virginians came in the per- 
son of Nathaniel Bacon, a young man of good birth, training, and educa- 
tion who had come to Virginia in 1674. A distant kinsman of Lord 
Chancellor Francis Bacon and a relative of another Nathaniel Bacon, 
who was a leading citizen of Virginia, he soon became established as a 
first-rate planter at Curies, in Henrico County, and was admitted to the 
Governor's Council not long after his arrival. 

Considerable underlying discontent had been aroused in Virginia by 
the low prices for tobacco, the cumulative effects of the Navigation 
Acts, high taxes, and autocratic rule by Berkeley, whose loyal support- 
ers permeated the government structure and had not allowed an election 
of burgesses for 15 years. The spark came from the depredations of the 
Susquehanna Indians who were being forced south by the powerful Iro- 
quois. They made attacks all along the Virginia frontier. Berkeley ordered 
a counterattack, but cancelled it in favor of maintaining a system of 
forts along the edge of the western settlements. In March 1676, the 
Assembly at Jamestown made plans for new forts; this measure, how- 
ever, was both time-consuming and ineffective. Among the leaders who 
assembled at the falls of the James for consultation regarding the Indian 
menace was the young Nathaniel Bacon. William Byrd I was there, too, 
and, even though he was the officer who had been named to guard the 
frontier, Bacon was placed in command of the men sent to attack the 
enemy Indians. A messenger left to request a commission for him from 
the governor. Berkeley replied that he would discuss the matter with his 
Council. Bacon then set out with his men to collect allies from among 
the friendly Indians. While Bacon was on the march he received word 
from Berkeley ordering him to return or be declared a rebel. Bacon did 
not turn back but continued into the wilderness in search of the enemy. 
Action came at Occaneechee Island. Bacon returned with captives and 
was hailed as a hero by those who had heard of his exploits. 

Governor Berkeley realized that the situation was becoming critical and 
that he could lose control of his government. Prompt action was neces- 
sary. He dissolved the House of Burgesses and ordered a new election. 
The result was that many of his loyal adherents were replaced by repre- 
sentatives, some of whom were unfriendly, even hostile, to him. The new 
assembly convened in the statehouse at "James Citty" on June 5, 1676, 
and among the burgesses was the defiant Bacon who had been returned 
by the voters of Henrico. An announced rebel and not yet formally re- 
moved from the council, it is doubtful that he was eligible for his seat, 
yet he determined to go to Jamestown and present his credentials. 


He boarded his sloop, accompanied by about 40 supporters, and sailed 
down the James. When near Jamestown he sent ahead to inquire whether 
he would be allowed to enter the town in peace. A shot from a cannon 
in the fort gave the negative answer. Despite this, Bacon secretly went 
ashore at night to confer with two of his friends then living in James- 
town—William Drummond, a former governor in Carolina, and Richard 
Lawrence, a former Oxford student. Later that night he returned to his 
boat and started back up the James, but was taken by an officer whom 
Berkeley had sent out to apprehend him. A dramatic scene followed at 

Bacon was brought before the governor, paroled, and restored to the 
council. Berkeley knew that his opponent had the upper hand and that 
the House of Burgesses, then in session, was against him. Bacon seem- 
ingly could have remained in the capital and personally directed a full 
program of economic and political reform. This evidently was not his 
aim. He demanded a commission to go against the Indians, and, when 
Berkeley delayed, he disappeared from Jamestown, later saying that his 
person was in danger, although this appears unlikely. Bacon now en- 
tered a course from which he could not turn back. With a sizable group 
of supporters, on June 23, he returned again to Jamestown. He crossed 
the isthmus ". . . there le[a]veing a party to secure the passage, then 
marched into Towne, . . . [sent] partyes to the ferry, River & fort, 
& . . . [drew] his forces against the state house." In the face of this 
show of force, the governor gave him a commission, and the burgesses 
passed measures designed to correct many old abuses. Among the new 
laws was one establishing the bounds of Jamestown to include the 
entire island and giving the residents within these bounds the right, for 
the first time, to make their own local ordinances. 

By this time Bacon and his men were arrayed solidly against both 
governor and royal government. The issue was defeat or independence 
for Virginia, but Virginia was not yet ready and did not elect to face the 
issue. Bacon, it seems, wanted extreme measures, and there is evidence 
to indicate that he visualized the formation of an American Republic. 
Yet when Bacon established himself as the opponent of royal govern- 
ment in Virginia and subordinated his role as supporter of the frontier 
settlers against misrule, he lost popular support. Had he lived and suc- 
ceeded in arms, it is questionable that the people would have backed 
him, for they had not shown much disposition to defy royal authority. 
The discontent at this time was not so much against that authority as 
against the misuse of it by Sir William Berkeley. 

The issues having been drawn, Bacon pursued his course to the bitter 
end. He returned to Henrico. When about to move a second time against 
the Indians, news came that Berkeley was attempting to raise troops in 
Gloucester County. Consequently, it was to Gloucester that Bacon first 
moved, onlv to find that his opponent had withdrawn to Accomac, on 


the Eastern Shore of Virginia. On August 1, at Middle Plantation (later 
Williamsburg), Bacon sought to administer his oath of loyalty and to an- 
nounce his "Declaration of the People" to those assembled there at his 
summons. His next move was against the Pamunkey Indians. Then it 
seemed necessary that he move again on Berkeley who now had returned 
to Jamestown. 

On September 13, 1676, he drew up his "few weake and Tyr'd [tired]" 
men in the "Green Spring Old Field," just above Jamestown, and posted 
lookouts on Glasshouse Point. Then he ordered the construction of a 
trench across the island end of the isthmus. A raiding party advanced 
as far as the palisade, near the edge of Jamestown proper. Berkeley 
ordered several ships brought up as close to the shore as possible. Their 
guns and the small arms of the men along the palisades opened fire 
against Bacon, but proved ineffective in routing him from his entrench- 
ments. On September 15, Berkeley organized a sally, "with horse and 
foote in the Van," which retreated under hot fire from Bacon's entrench- 
ments. At this point Berkeley's force lost heart, while his opponent's 
spirit reached a new high. In any event, after a week of siege, the gov- 
ernor felt compelled to withdraw from Jamestown. This he did, by boat, 

A prepared drawing of the plat of a survey made for William Sherwood 
at Jamestown in 1680. "Roades" indicates the course of the "Greate 
Road" that connected the town with the mainland. On the left the 
isthmus that joined the "Island" to Glasshouse Point is shown. 


with many of his supporters. This was the high point of Bacon's for- 
tune in arms, and a costly one. Seemingly, it was during the fatiguing 
siege, which came "in a wett Season," that he contracted the illness that 
caused his death and brought an abrupt end to the rebellion. 

Following Berkeley's withdrawal, Bacon and his tired force marched 
into Jamestown for rest. Wholesale destruction followed. As a contem- 
porary put it, "Here resting a few daies they concerted the burning of 
the town, wherein Mr. Laurence [Richard Lawrence] and Mr. [William] 
Drummond owning the two best houses save one, set fire each to his 
own house, which example the souldiers following laid the whole town 
(with church and State house) in ashes. . . ." It is known from the rec- 
ords that the destruction was systematic and that the town suffered 
heavily from the burning. Among those losing homes and possessions 
of high value were Col. Thomas Swann, Maj. Theophilus Hone "high 
sheriff of Jamestown," William Sherwood, and Mr. James' "orphan," 
the last to the value of £1,000. It was estimated that total losses reached 
a value of 1,500,000 pounds of tobacco. Again the idea was advanced to 
move the seat of government from Jamestown to some more desirable 
location. A little later, Tindall's (now Gloucester) Point, on the York, 
was given preferential consideration by the assembly as a fit location. 
The move was not made, however, and the capital remained at James- 
town for another quarter of a century. 

From Jamestown, Berkeley moved once more to the Eastern Shore. 
Bacon, whose men pillaged Green Spring (Berkeley's home on the main- 
land, just above Jamestown) on the way, marched to Gloucester, where 
he became ill and died on October 26, 1676. The rebellion, now without 
a real leader, quickly collapsed. Joseph Ingram, successor to Bacon, and 
Gregory Wakelett, cavalry leader in Gloucester County, surrendered in 
January 1677; Lawrence disappeared in the Chickahominy marshes; and 
Drummond was promptly hanged. Berkeley moved with haste to silence 
his opponents, making ready use of the death sentence. 

Accommodations for the conduct of government were now wholly 
inadequate at Jamestown. Consequently, Berkeley called the assembly 
to meet at Green Spring, which functioned for a time almost as the 
temporary capital. In February 1677, the commissioners who were sent 
to investigate Bacon's Rebellion arrived in Virginia. With them came 
about 1,000 troops who encamped at Jamestown for the remainder of 
the winter and ensuing spring. The commissioners, among them Col. 
Herbert Jeffreys, the next governor, finding so much ruin and desolation 
at Jamestown, made their headquarters in the home of Col. Thomas 
Swann across the James from the capital town. Berkeley left for England 
in May, and Jeffreys took control in Virginia. It was not until March 
1679, however, that definite action (following a recommendation of the 
investigating commissioners) was taken for the restoration of Jamestown. 
Then it was ordered, in England, that the town be rebuilt and made the 
metropolis of Virginia "as the most ancient and convenient place." 


A section from the "Plan du Terrein a la Rive Gauche de la Riviere 
de James vis-a-vis James-Town en Virginie ..." done by Colonel 
Desandrouins, of the French Army, in 1781. 

Jamestown rebuilt. Lord Culpeper reached Virginia in May 1680, 
with instructions to rebuild Jamestown and to develop it into an urban 
center. In 1683, he was able to report that he had given all possible en- 
couragement to this enterprise and that, although he himself was living 
at Green Spring, considerable activity had begun. He mentioned specifi- 
cally that Nathaniel Bacon (the kinsman of the rebel), Joseph Bridger, 
and William Sherwood had substantial work under way. A little later 
the fourth statehouse was completed, as was the church. By 1697 the 
town had been rebuilt and boasted of a statehouse, country house, church, 
fort, powder magazine, and 20 or 30 houses. In this period William Sher- 
wood, for a time attorney general for the colony, was a major landholder 
on the island and in the town. Others included Robert Beverley, author 
of one of the early histories of Virginia; William Edwards, clerk of the 
Council; Henry Hartwell; and John Page. It was in 1686 that John 
Clayton, minister at Jamestown, offered proposals for draining the 
marshes nearby to improve the healthfulness of the spot, a project that 
never materialized. 

statehouse burned and capital moved. On October 31, 1698, a fire 
consumed the statehouse, prison, and probably other buildings at James- 
town, although the records and papers were saved. This fire led to the 
removal of the seat of government to Middle Plantation (Williams- 


burg)— a spot favored by the Governor, Sir Francis Nicholson. Thus, 
Jamestown was abandoned as the seat of government after 92 years. 
Its mission had been accomplished, and it had seen Virginia grow 
from the small settlement of 1607 into a colony of great extent, with a 
population of perhaps 80,000. 

later years AT Jamestown. The removal of the capital ultimately 
proved the death blow for Jamestown, for this eliminated the primary 
reason for its existence. Decline set in immediately, but Jamestown re- 
tained a seat in the assembly for another three-quarters of a century. 
Its end as a town, legally and physically, may be given as the period 
of the American Revolution. There was a military post here early in 
that struggle. Later, it became a point of exchange for American and 
British prisoners of war, and it featured in the maneuvers leading to the 
Siege of Yorktown. It witnessed the movement of Cornwallis' army 
across the James and was a landing and resting point for American and 
French soldiers being sent to join Washington's allied army. 

Even before 1700, property on Jamestown Island was being con- 
solidated into a few hands. The consolidation continued unabated after 
this date, and before the middle of the 18th century the major part of 
the island was in the hands of two families— Ambler and Travis— each 
of which had its own "mansion." The Travis family estate at James- 
town had grown slowly since before 1650, and Richard Ambler, of 

A watercolor by Robert M. Sully showing the shoreline at Jamestown 
in 1854 at a point just above the Old Church Tower. In this period 
erosion was slowly destroying the west end of the site of "Old James 
Towne." (Original in the collection of the late Miss Julia Sully, 
Richmond, Va.) 


Yorktown, acquired, through marriage, the extensive Jaquelin, formerly 
Sherwood, holdings. After 1830, the island came under a single owner- 
ship. Under the Amblers and Travises and later owners of the island, 
even parts of the townsite itself became farm land and functioned as 
an integral part of the plantation system which earlier events at James- 
town had helped so materially to create. 

The fields, and woods, and marshes lay quietly on the James for gen- 
erations, contributing in a small, but important, manner to a growing 
country. Americans often remembered the early years of the colony and 
the momentous events that had taken place on the island, and joined 
here to commemorate the deeds of their forefathers. There was the 
Bicentennial of 1807, the Virginiad of 1822, the 250th anniversary in 
1857, and the Tercentennial of 1907. In the years between these events 
there were thousands who came individually and in small groups, the 
famous and those now unknown. It was this remembrance and loyalty 
to one of its great landmarks that led to the establishment of Jamestown 
Island as a national historic shrine. 

Jamestown National Historic Site 

The first organized effort toward saving the Jamestown area came in 
1893 when the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities 
acquired 22.5 acres of the old townsite. This land, donated for preserva- 
tion by Mr. and Mrs. Edward E. Barney, embraced the Old Church 
Tower, the graveyard, and the west end of the townsite. 

The Association which was chartered in 1889 is better known, per- 
haps, as the APVA. It is a non-profit organization interested in the 
acquisition, preservation, and restoration of "ancient historic grounds, 
buildings, monuments, and tombs in the Commonwealth of Virginia" 
and in the collection and care of relics associated with them or with 
the history of the State. Its Jamestown property is one of a number of 
holdings which it administers. Another is the 17th-century Warren 
House on the Rolfe property in Surry County just across the James 
River from Jamestown. 

Until 1934 the Association was the sole active agency working at 
Jamestown to conserve and interpret the site for the American people. 
As the custodian of a significant part of the site of old "James Towne," 
it continues working to promote measures insuring the protection of 
the site and making it available for your use and inspiration. Land- 
scaping, limited reconstruction, some restoration, and the stabilization 
of the remains of the Old Church Tower, the tombs, and foundations 
have all been a part of its program; together with the acquisition and 
display of Jamestown relics. In its work, it has solicited and received 
aid from various organizations, particularly patriotic societies, in the 


placement of memorials, and related activities. The Memorial Church 
was constructed by the National Society of the Colonial Dames of 
America. The Association was especially active in preparation for the 
Jamestown Exposition in 1907. 

The Association was successful in its efforts to encourage the United 
States Government to construct the seawall which was built by Col. 
Samuel H. Yonge in 1900-1901 to halt bank erosion by the James River 
along the Association grounds. Colonel Yonge became a serious student 
of Jamestown history and wrote The Site of Old "James Towne," 1607- 
1698, a work still available through purchase from the Association. 
In 1907, the Association made available the grounds on which the 
Tercentenary Monument was erected, and again in 1956 it provided land 
on which to place the Jamestown Visitor Center. 

In 1940 the Association entered into agreement with the United States 
of America, through the Secretary of the Interior, to provide for a unified 
program of development and administration for the island. It was at this 
time that the APVA grounds were designated as Jamestown National 
Historic Site. The joint cooperative agreement continues in force and 
the Association and the National Park Service are working together to 
preserve, maintain, and interpret this historic area. 

In 1956 it became possible to present the townsite as a single unit 
when the ferry to the island and the State highway crossing the island 
were moved upriver above Jamestown. The APVA and the Service then 
combined their separate museum exhibits to form the displays now 
seen in the Visitor Center, and consolidated other operations at the 
center where both are hosts to Jamestown visitors. 

Early ceramic types found in the excavations. 


Colonial National Historical Park 

In 1930, by Presidential proclamation, all of Jamestown Island's 1,559.5 
acres (equally divided between marsh and dry land) were included 
within the boundaries of Colonial National Monument. The monu- 
ment designation was changed to that of a national historical park by 
act of Congress in 1936. Actual Federal ownership of the island (other 
than the 22-acre Association tract) was obtained in 1934, and some years 
later, a bit of the mainland opposite the western tip of Jamestown was 
added because of its close ties to the site. 

Colonial National Historical Park is made up of several areas of 
which Jamestown is one. It includes, as well, the Cape Henry Memorial, 
at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay, where the first settlers who estab- 
lished Jamestown first stopped in Virginia; the Yorktown Battlefield; 
and the Colonial Parkway. 

Colonial Parkway 

This 23-mile scenic motor road connects historic Jamestown, Williams- 
burg, and Yorktown. Along its course are descriptive markers that give 
bits of history which often show the interrelation of Jamestown (where 
the Nation began), Williamsburg (the 18th-century capital of Virginia 
where important elements of our Revolutionary leadership were 
nourished), and Yorktown (where the climatic battle in our struggle 
for independence was fought). 

The Study of Jamestown 

When the major part of Jamestown Island, including much of the town- 
site, was placed in its custody in 1934, the National Park Service, 
working with the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiqui- 
ties, assumed responsibility for preservation of the historic remains on 
the island and for interpreting the site. This posed many problems, for 
the Jamestown story is a vital segment of our national history, involv- 
ing the origins and growth of the culture of this formative period of 
English colonization. The first pressing concern was the accumulation 
of data on which to base a more complete understanding of life and 
conditions as they existed at that time, specifically at Jamestown. This 
was needed in order to plan for the preservation, development, and 
interpretation of the area. 

A program was drawn up which combined the various types of 
research that the conditions and problems at Jamestown required. The 
overall objective was to secure and preserve all possible data on James- 
town history (giving history its broadest interpretation), and to gain 


a well-rounded picture of the growth of agriculture, industry, com- 
merce,; and society during the period Jamestown was inhabited. 

Trained historians began to search in the leading libraries of the 
country. At Jamestown, engineers and archeologists, assisted by his- 
torians, architects, and museum technicians, began to survey the island. 
Little of the old town existed aboveground, yet it was known that there 
were, in all probability, extensive remains underground. Systematic 
excavation was begun on the townsite on July 11, 1934. 

In the beginning, it was recognized that the program would be of 
long duration. Initially, in the years prior to World War II, the sup- 
port of the Emergency Conservation Work (ECW) and the Civilian 
Conservation Corps (CCC) proved invaluable. Work all but ceased 
during the war years and went on at a very slow rate in the years just 
after the war. The program was renewed with vigor in 1954 as plans 
for Jamestown's 350th anniversary began to materialize. 

On June 1, 1938, a field laboratory and storage building to house 
the Jamestown activities was completed, giving the project an adequate 
physical plant. It soon came to house thousands of cultural objects and 
included offices as well as facilities for cleaning, sorting, storing, and 
cataloguing excavated materials. This temporary building served the 
need for study, and later for interpretation, until it was removed early 
in 1957. It was replaced, although on a different site, by the Jamestown 
Visitor Center early in 1957. 

Excavation in progress at Jamestown in 1955. 


Lighting equipment as used 
at Jamestown. (These objects 
were excavated on the site.) 

The findings of the program have been extensive. Documentary study 
has gleaned data which, when carefully examined, yields a more com- 
plete picture of 17th-century Jamestown than was thought possible. 
However, the picture is sketchy and needs the details filled in. For this 
reason, research continues in anticipation of bridging the gaps. 

Archeological work proved more fruitful than the most optimistic had 
anticipated during the initial phases of the work. The materials and in- 
formation found beneath the ground at Jamestown have been astonish- 
ing in both quantity and type. Architectural and constructural findings 
are of various types. More than a hundred building-remains have been 
excavated. Some are only the footings for a frame structure, some are 
brick foundations in full outline, and others are well-preserved cellars 
with interesting structural detail. Associated with the sites are fragments 
of hardware, glass, roofing tile, and related building materials. Some of 
the building remains are those of the most prominent structures at 
Jamestown, such as statehouses and governors' houses. Brick kilns have 
been found, one being the well-preserved ruins in the Association 
grounds, showing clearly that 17th-century Virginians made much of 
their own brick and roofing tile. Pottery manufacture has been docu- 
mented as well as other such activities. Several types of early wells, often 
brick-lined, have yielded many objects dropped in accidentally, or by 
design, while they were still in use. 


Even road traces still exist. Some of them, considered in the light of 
documentary references, have made it possible to reestablish the route of 
the "Greate Road" formerly connecting the island and the mainland. 
The reopening of old property line ditches and the rediscovery of fence 
lines (by identifying old post holes) have aided immeasurably in locat- 
ing property tracts. This information, added to that of the old land 
grants and survey plats, has made possible the location of many early 
landholdings and has helped in the study of the physical layout of the 
town. Other features uncovered include lime kilns, where the early 
Jamestown builders burned their own lime for plaster— occasionally 
found still clinging to basement walls— and brick drains. 

The number and variety of objects found in the excavations can only 
be indicated in general terms. The great bulk of thousands of items now 
collected is made up of pieces of iron, copper, brass, bronze, pewter, clay, 
and earth. Occasionally some more perishable materials, such as wool, 
leather, and wood, are found. Among the more interesting finds are clay 
tobacco pipes, glass wine bottles, pottery vessels, Delft tiles, gun and 
sword fragments, bullets, cannon balls, spurs, bits of armor, stirrups and 
bridles, locks, keys, nails, spoons, forks, shears, pins, thimbles, axes, hoes, 
window glass, buckles, combs, and rings. A complete list would be much 
longer. Often only fragments remain, yet in many cases it is possible to 
make a full restoration of the original piece, such as has been done with 
a clay baking oven. A special illustrated publication is available, in pop- 
ular style, describing the archeological work and the collection. 

Individually and collectively, these objects give us an insight into the 
manner in which 17th-century Jamestown men and their families lived. 

In early Jamestown, water came from shallow wells which often had 
a barrel at the bottom such as this found still in place. 



Sgraffito— often called "scratch" ware since the design was scratched 
into the upper layer of pliable clay before it was baked— is one of 
the most common 1 7th-century ceramic types found at Jamestown. 

These objects will help you get a more complete picture of the first Vir- 
ginians—how they dressed, worked, built and equipped their homes, and 
satisfied their daily needs. 

The Development of Jamestown 

No attempt will be made to restore Jamestown as it was in 1607 or at 
any other period. The town was always small and always changing. 
Jamestown, it might be said, was never a city in the modern concept. It 
was more a village, a small community. The town of 1607, or 1610, was 
unlike that of 1623, and that of 1623 was far different from that of 1675. 
Architecture went all the way from timber and thatch structures to sub- 
stantial all-brick houses. Even if the town had had a reasonable contin- 
uity of building types and plan, known information would be entirely 
insufficient to allow a restoration. Major discoveries of new material are 
still expected, yet the detail necessary for an authentic restoration may 
always be too meager. 

The site of old "James Towne" has, however, retained much of the 
spirit of its antiquity. Its serene and peaceful atmosphere seems to take 
one back through the years. You may be able, for a moment, to disasso- 
ciate yourself from the swift pace of present living as you wander past 
the old foundations and look upon the Old Church Tower. 

The National Park Service, following the precedent established by the 
Association, is endeavoring to preserve this unbroken link with the past. 


The emphasis is on the presentation of the townsite itself and the island 
wilderness as the real exhibit. There are "streets" and winding paths, ex- 
posed and marked foundations, existing remains, paintings of buildings 
and scenes, property markings (old ditches, fences of period design, and 
hedges), and natural planting. Shaded vistas and secluded points for 
quiet reflection are provided as much as possible. Some use is being made 
of period-type buildings (but not specific reconstructions) as in the 
"glasshouse" with its thatch, wattle and daub, and "cruck" design. 

Physical features of the 17th century have not survived at Jamestown 
in sufficient number to illustrate the complete story, and the townsite 
will not adapt itself to a full coverage. However, there are extensive sup- 
plementary exhibits in the Jamestown Visitor Center, which are designed 
to help you understand and "experience" Jamestown. 

The Old Church Tower, standing on the grounds of the Association 
for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities, was probably built about 







Guide to the Area 

(Numbers correspond to numbers on the map on page 43.) 

"James Towne" developed on the west end of Jamestown Island. At its 
maximum extent it lay along the river for approximately three-quarters 
of a mile. It was a thin strip of a town between the James River and the 
marsh that came to be called Pitch and Tar Swamp. At first there was 
only the fort, then an enlarged palisaded area. Gradually the town grew 
with the building of houses, a church, a market place, shops, storehouses, 
forts, statehouses, and other public buildings grouped along streets and 
paths. The entire townsite is an exhibit area. The Visitor Center (1), at 
its edge, is a short distance from the parking area across a trestle bridge 
spanning Pitch and Tar Swamp. 

In the Visitor Center, sponsored jointly by the Association for the 
Preservation of Virginia Antiquities and the National Park Service, an 
orientation program of movies and slides, an information desk, an ex- 
tensive series of exhibits, and literature and souvenirs are available. The 
exhibits include many irreplaceable objects, such as earrings of Poca- 
hontas, and many objects recovered from the ground. There are 
dioramas, a large model of James Fort, illustrated panels, and other dis- 
plays telling about early Jamestown and explaining the points of interest 
on the townsite and along the island tour or drive. 

The adjacent townsite is easily reached from the Visitor Center, and a 
good general view of it may be had from the observation terrace around 


the Tercentenary Monument (2). This shaft of New Hampshire granite 
rising 103 feet above its base was erected in 1907 to commemorate the 
300th anniversary of the settlement^ 

A footpath leads from the monument terrace to the church area, cross- 
ing the trace of the "Greate Road," which served the town's residents 
some 300 years ago. It passes close to the site of a 17th-century brick kiln 
just inside the entrance to the APVA grounds. 

The Church Area (3), the most inspiring spot at Jamestown today, 
embraces the Old Tower, the Memorial Church, and the Churchyard. 
The ivy-covered Old Church Tower is the only standing ruin of the 17th- 
century town. It is believed to have been a part of the first brick church 
built about 1639- Its 3-foot-thick walls of handmade brick laid in English 
bond have been standing for more than 300 years. The Memorial Church, 
directly behind the tower, was erected in 1907 by the National Society 
of the Colonial Dames of America over the foundations of the early 
brick church. Within the church are memorials and burials, including 
the "Knight's" tomb and that of Rev. John Clough. 

Of particular note, inside the church, are the exposed cobblestone founda- 
tions of an earlier church said to have housed the first representative legis- 
lative assembly in America which convened at Jamestown on July 30, 
1619. In the Churchyard many dead are buried, and the few gravestones 
that have survived the wear of time and weather are a witness to the 
antiquity of the spot. These carry the names of Berkeley, Blair, Harrison, 
Ludwell, Bevereley, Lee, Sherwood, and others. Even the extent of the 
burial ground is unknown. It is more extensive than either the iron grill 
fence or the old wall (built of bricks from the ruins of one of the 17th- 
century Jamestown churches) suggests. 

Adjacent to the church are a number of memorials and monuments 
erected through the years, particularly in 1907, to commemorate im- 

The foundations of the Last (fourth) State house Group as it extends 
toward the James River. It was the burning of this state house in 
1698 that was the immediate reason for moving the capital of the 
colony from Jamestown to Williamsburg. 

The graveyard near the Memorial Church. The sycamore (center) 
now separates the graves of Rev. James Blair, a founder of William 
and Mary College, from that of his wife, Sarah Harrison Blair. 

portant events at Jamestown and to honor some of those outstanding in 
Virginia history. These include the House of Burgesses Monument (4) list- 
ing the members of America's first representative legislative assembly in 
1619, the Pocahontas Monument (5), by William Ordway Partridge; and 
the Capt.John Smith Statue (6), designed by William Couper. 

The footpath leads to the concrete walkway on the edge of the sea- 
wall. This seawall (built in 1900-1901) along the shoreline of the Asso- 
ciation grounds and the later riprap extension of it now protect the site 
from further erosion. Walk to the right (upriver) along the concrete 
walkway. It passes near, but outside, the Confederate earthwork thrown 
up in 1861 when the James River approach to Richmond was being 
fortified. At one point a bit of history can be read from the ground in a 
Site Use Exhibit (7). The earth in the side of the embankment has been 
carefully sliced and various levels are identified — undisturbed ground, 
the level of Indian use, the zone with evidences of 17th-century use, and, 
topping all, the earthwork built by Confederate troops in 1861. 

Just beyond, but at a point now in the river, due to the erosion of the 
last three centuries, is the site of [ ( James Fort" (8), which was built in 
May and June 1607, and constituted the Jamestown settlement in the 
first few years. There is a large model of "James Fort" in the Visitor 
Center and a full scale reconstruction of it has been built in Festival 
Park above Glasshouse Point and adjacent to the Jamestown terminus of 
the Colonial Parkway. 

In the words of William Strachey, recorder for the colony, the fort, as 
built in 1607, and standing in 1610, was "cast almost into the forme of a 


Triangle, and so Pallizadoed. The South side next the River ... by 
reason the advantage of the ground doth so require, contains one hun- 
dred and forty yards: the West and East sides a hundred onely. At every 
Angle or corner, where the lines meete, a Bulwarke or Watchtower is 
raised, and in each Bulwarke a peece of Ordnance or two well mounted. 
To every side, a proportioned distance from the Pallisado, is a setled 
streete of houses, that run along, so as each line of the Angle hath his 
streete. In the middest is a market place, a Store house, and a Corps du 
guard, as likewise a pretty Chappel . . . [all] inclosed . . . round with 
a Pallizado of Planckes and strong Posts, foure foote deepe in the 
ground, of yong Oakes, Walnuts, &c . . . the principall Gate from the 
Towne, through the Pallizado, opens to the River ... at each Bulwarke 
there is a Gate likewise to goe forth, and at every Gate a Demi-Culverin 
and so in the Market Place . . . ." 

Just beyond the fort site, approximately 125 feet from the present sea- 
wall, at a point where it makes a pronounced turn to the right, is the 
First Landing Site (9) which the colonists reached on May 13, 1607. Here 
the next day, all came ashore and landed supplies. This spot, like the fort 
site, is now in the river. The Old Cypress (10), standing several hundred 
feet from the shore above the landing site, is said to have stood at one 
time on the edge of the island. This is visible evidence of the erosion 
that has taken at least 25 acres of the western part of the townsite. 

The Tercentenary Monument 
erected by the United States in 
1907, to commemorate the 
300th anniversary of the land- 
ing of the first permanent 
English settlers at Jamestown. 

The Hunt Memorial erected to the memory of Rev. Robert Hunt, first 
minister at Jamestown, by the Colonial Dames of America in the State 
of Virginia. 

Inshore, at this point, the Memorial Cross (11) occupies a position of 
prominence. This marks the burial ground that extended along the ridge 
behind it. This is the earliest known burial ground at Jamestown and is 
thought to have preceded that around the church. It was along this 
ridge, first used as a cemetery, that Jamestown's third statehouse (burned 
by Nathaniel Bacon, Jr., in 1676) was constructed. A decade later the 
fourth (and last) statehouse was built on the same site. It was the acci- 
dental burning of the last statehouse and the structures associated with 
it, in 1698, that was the immediate reason for moving the seat of govern- 
ment from Jamestown. This group of houses— the Last Statehouse Group 
(12)— consisted of the last country house, three houses of Philip Lud- 
well, and the fourth statehouse. The foundations are marked and the 
footpath, leaving the concrete walkway, follows along these foundations 
and passes near the Memorial Cross. 

The walkway now returns to the Church area. The path follows across 
a low area, known in the old days as the "Vale," and into the Confed- 
erate earthwork. Here is the bronze relief memorial to The Rev. Robert 
Hunt (13). He was the chaplain to the first settlers. On the third Sunday 



t « 

Owe of the larger of the Jamestown foundations, located in the "New 
Towne" section. It has been identified as the "Country House." As the 
foundations indicate, several houses occupied this site. 

after Trinity, in June 1607, he administered the first recorded Holy Com- 
munion according to the rites of the Church of England. 

The tour route emerges from the Confederate earthworks near the en- 
trance to the church and passes again near the Smith, Pocahontas, and 
House of Burgesses markers and other memorials. Just beyond, the tour 
leaves the Association grounds (the west end of the site of old "James 
Towne") and follows a walk close to the bank of the river. Beyond, 
stretches the eastern section of "James Towne." 

It has become possible to define on the ground the pattern of James- 
town as it existed in at least a part of the early period. Utilizing the route 

The foundation ruins of the First Statehouse at Jamestown, where the 
House of Burgessess met in the period 1640—55. Believed to have been 
used earlier by Sir John Harvey. 

' •mm ii V ., jir- 

of the "Greate Road," "Back Streete," "the highway close to the river," 
and various connecting ways, a plan now lays on the ground east from 
the Visitor Center. Exposed original foundations, other ruins marked 
aboveground in brick and wood (these in dull white), reopened old 
ditches (which often mark property lines), fences of period type, and 
replanted hedges are all used. Paintings help in visualizing the houses 
that once stood on some of the foundations while recorded descriptions, 
narrative markers, and other aids give information on owners, events, 
and happenings. 

The extreme east end of Jamestown is that area developed after 1619, 
first actually surveyed by William Claiborne in 1623, and known to its 
first residents as New Towne. Here it is possible to locate, plot, and 
identify, with some assurance, a number of the early property holdings. 

There is the plot taken up by Capt. John Harvey in 1624, on which 
he had houses and where he kept a garden and cultivated fruit trees. 
Across "Back Streete" from the Harvey site was the holding of Dr. 
John Pott who was sent from England in 1621 accompanied by two 
surgeons and a chest of medicine. He had a house here by 1622, 
although it was not until after this date that he obtained his land 

West of the Harvey site was the home and lot of George Menefie, 
an attorney, administrator, and member of the council. Near the home 
of Menefie was the tract of Ralph Hamor, Dale's secretary of state, who 
died in 1626. Farther west were the holdings of John Chew, a merchant 
(1624), and of Richard Stephens (1623), who had personal difficulties 
with John Harvey, and who later appears to have been a party to the 
first duel fought in an English colony. North of the "Back Streete" 
and west of Pott's holdings were those of Edward Blaney (a merchant), 
Capt. Roger Smith, and Capt. William Pierce, whose house George 
Sandys, in 1623, pronounced "the fairest in Virginia." 

Near the river, in the "New Towne" section, stood the First State- 
house (14) in Virginia. Foundations here (now partly exposed and partly 
marked) are thought to be those of this significant structure. It served 
the colony from 1641 to 1656. In it, during the early governorship of Sir 
William Berkeley, were discussed the measures needful for the govern- 
ment of the growing colony. Here, too, the colony gave its submission 
to the commonwealth government of Oliver Cromwell in England in 
1652, and Richard Bennett was chosen as governor by the assembly to 
succeed Berkeley. 

Even the designation "New Towne" was forgotten in the years after 
1650 when the area, including street alinement, changed considerably. 
Those living in houses here or owning property in Jamestown's east end 
then included Sherwood, Thomas Rabley, James Alsop, Richard Holder, 
William Edwards, and Henry Hartwell, one of the founders of the 
College of William and Mary. The scanty remains of Hartwell's Frame 


An early baking oven of clay 
reconstructed from fragments 
found in the excavations at 

House (15) are believed to have been identified and they are marked. In 
this instance the discovery of a preponderance of "H-H" initialed wine 
bottle seals furnished a helpful identity clue. 

The fl 'Country House" (16) in this early period lay in the "New Towne" 
section. Perhaps a number of houses stood here on the same site prior to 
the first brick structure that bears this designation. In excavations on the 
site, the foundations of the brick building were found, including ex- 
cellent specimens of ornamental plaster which may have adorned this 
structure or that of a later private residence of William Sherwood, which 
was found to have occupied the same site. Its foundations are visible. 

Dominating the scene today in this area are the ruined walls of the 
J aquelin- Ambler House (17). These are a testimony of the late colonial 
period (18th century) when Jamestown Island was no longer the seat of 
government and when, as the town declined, the island became the pri- 
vate estate of two families— Ambler and Travis. The present walls of the 
Ambler House constitute the center portion of a rather impressive resi- 
dence that was flanked by two wings. It was begun about 1710 and when 
fully established, had formal gardens, the brick walls of which were 
partly uncovered during archeological work on the townsite. Its con- 
struction is thought to have obliterated all trace of Richard Kemp's 
house, the first recorded all-brick house in Virginia. 

Between the Ambler House ruins and the Visitor Center stood a "long 
house" (18), one made of several sections with common connecting walls. 
Its long walls have been outlined on the ground as it stood some three 
centuries ago. Behind this site are the original ruins (displayed under 
cover) of an early building that appears from its fireboxes and other 
features to have served some, but as yet unidentified, "manufacturing" 


purpose. Near it, unmistakeable evidences of pottery manufacturing 
have been found. This particular locality has evidences, too, of other 
types of workmanship. Perhaps, for a time, it was a kind of r ' 'Production 
Center" (19) in Jamestown. 

The story of Jamestown is not all concerned with the townsite itself. 
Much of it deals with farming and other activities on the island sur- 
rounding the town except on the river front, and especially to the east. 
The Island Drive is a motor road that gives access to this island area. 
Starting from the central parking area, it traverses the island's 1,559-5 
acres of marsh and woodland. The full drive is about 5 miles although 
it has a shorter 3-mile loop. Natural features are named and markers 
carry legends about the land and the people. Large paintings here and 
there picture the life of the times in daily activities such as winemak- 
ing, tobacco-growing, and lumbering. After passing the Confederate Fort 
(20), you come to Black Point (21) at the east end of the island where 
there is an excellent view of the lower reaches of the James River. Then 
the loop takes you past the Travis Graveyard (22) and The Pond (23), 
where Lawrence Bohun collected herbs for medical experiment in 1610. 

The one-way tour road loops back to the parking area and to the 
isthmus connecting the island and Glasshouse Point on the mainland, so 
named because the colonists, in 1608, undertook to produce glass at 
this location. Here are exhibited the Original Glass Furnace Ruins (24) 

Winemaking as it may have been practiced at Jamestown three cen- 
turies ago. (A painting by Sidney E. King.) 


the remains of the first attempt to produce glass in America. Nearby is 
a Working Furnace (25) of the same type housed in a thatch-covered 
building constructed in the manner of those used in Virginia and Eng- 
land three and a half centuries ago. The Jamestown Glasshouse Founda- 
tion, Inc., representing a number of leading American glass companies, 
helped to make this possible. The Foundation operates the furnace and 
in season the blowing of glass in the old way can be observed. Hand- 
made glass objects can be purchased. 

The tour of Jamestown ends here at the "Glasshouse." From this 
point the Colonial Parkway leads to Williamsburg and Yorktown. 
Following this route you can read history on the spot in the order it 

A building, such as may have been used in 1608—09, houses the glass- 
making exhibit on Glasshouse Point. 


How to Reach Jamestown 

Jamestown Island is easily reached over the Colonial Parkway from 
Williamsburg only 10 miles away. Williamsburg is the nearest rail and 
bus terminal and the closest point of concentration of housing and 
eating facilities. The approach from the south is over State Routes 10 
and 31 to the ferry over the James River from Scotland to Glasshouse 
Point near the Jamestown Entrance Gate. From Richmond and points 
to the West, State Routes 5 and 31 can be used without entering 

About Your Visit 

Jamestown is open daily, except on Christmas Day, from 9 a. m. to 
6 p. m. from April 1 to September 30 and 9 a. m. to 5 p. m. the rest 
of the year. A single admission of 50 cents per person is collected at 
the Entrance Gate on Glasshouse Point. However, during the 350th 
Jamestown Anniversary Festival season in 1957 this charge is a part of, 
and included in, a $1 per person admission including all of Jamestown 
and nearby Festival Park with its reconstructed "James Fort," ship 
replicas, and other features. All school students 18 years of age and under, 
when in groups, and all children under 12 are admitted without charge 
when accompanied by adults assuming responsibility for their orderly 
conduct. Organizations and groups are given special service if arrange- 
ments are made in advance. All visitors are urged to go first to the 
Jamestown Visitor Center where literature, information, and a special 
program are available. 

No eating or lodging facilities are available at Jamestown. There is, 
however, a restaurant and picnic ground in the Virginia State Festival 
Park at Glasshouse Point. 


Jamestown Island (except Jamestown National Historic Site adminis- 
tered and maintained by the Association for the Preservation of Virginia 
Antiquities) is part of Colonial National Historical Park. The park also 
includes Yorktown Battlefield, Colonial Parkway, and Cape Henry 
Memorial. It is administered by the National Park Service of the United 
States Department of the Interior. 

Inquiries relating to the Association for the Preservation of Virginia 
Antiquities area should be addressed to that Association, Jamestown, 
Va.; those relating to the National Park Service area to the Superin- 
tendent, Colonial National Historical Park, Yorktown, Va. 


Suggested Readings 

Andrews, Matthew Page. Virginia: The Old Dominion. Doubleday 
Doran. New York. 1937. 

Chandler, J. A. C, and Thames, T. B. Colonial Virginia. Times- 
Dispatch Company. Richmond, Va. 1907. 

Forman, Henry Chandlee. Jamestown and St. Mary's: Buried Cities of 
Romance. The Johns Hopkins Press. Baltimore. 1938. 

Hatch, Charles E., Jr. The First Seventeen Years: Virginia, 1607-1623. 
Jamestown 350th Anniversary Historical Booklet No. 6. Virginia 
350th Anniversary Celebration Corporation. Williamsburg, Va. 1957. 

Stanard, Mary Newton. The Story of Virginia's First Century. J. B. 
Lippincott. Philadelphia. 1928. 

Tyler, Lyon Gardiner. The Cradle of the Republic: Jamestown and 
James River. Ed. 2. The Hermitage Press. Richmond, Va. 1906. 

Wertenbaker, Thomas Jefferson. The First Americans 1607-1690. 
A History of American Life Series, Vol. II. The Macmillan Com- 
pany. New York. 1927. 

Wright, Louis B. Atlantic Frontier: Colonial American Civilization: 
1607-1761. Alfred A. Knopf. New York. 1947. 

Yonge, Samuel H. The Site of Old 'James Towne" 1607-1698. The 
Hermitage Press. Richmond, Va. 1907.